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After a car accident, here's what you should do

Even if you feel like the odds of getting into a car accident are small, it is important to know what to do after the crash. The scene is often chaotic and stressful, and knowing what steps to take in advance helps you act on autopilot. Remember, even though you can control how safe you are behind the wheel, you cannot control other drivers, so the crash risks may be higher than you think.

With that in mind, here are some important steps to take:

  1. Check to see if you got injured. Remember that you may not feel pain due to the adrenaline rush, but you could still be hurt.
  2. Check on your passengers to make sure they are all right, especially if you had children in the car.
  3. Consider any immediate danger. For instance, is the car still sitting in the traffic lanes and at risk of being hit again? Does it smell like the car may be on fire?
  4. Get yourself and your passengers to a safe place.
  5. Contact emergency services. If there are witnesses, odds are they already called 911, but don't assume anything.
  6. If possible, talk to the other driver. Write down their name, their driver's license number, their contact information and their insurance information.
  7. Take pictures. These could include pictures of the information listed above -- like a driver's license or a license plate -- and pictures of the actual crash scene. This documentation can help you moving forward.

If you do find yourself facing high medical bills and other costs, you may be able to seek out financial compensation.

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