It has happened. A car has clipped you on the interstate, and you are both sent spinning. The movies didn’t prepare you for just how scared you are. When the cars come to a stop, panic and confusion flood your mind and it is impossible to think. In these moments, so much can go wrong if you aren’t prepared with knowledge of what to do. If you find yourself in an automobile accident, follow these steps to protect yourself.

  1. Remain calm

Breath. It is cliché advice, but panic has never helped anyone out of any situation. You will need think clearly, and controlling your breath is a great way to calm you down. Take a moment to collect yourself before stepping out of the car. If it is possible, try and move your car out of the flow of traffic, but do not do so if it puts yourself or anyone else in harm’s way.

  1. Make Sure Everyone Is Alright

Once you are ready, get out of the car and check on everyone involved in the accident. Beware of oncoming traffic while doing so. Again, do not do anything that puts yourself in harm’s way. If anyone is in need of assistance, offer it to them.

It is important not to say anything after an accident that implies that you are at fault. Though it may seem like common manners, especially if someone is injured, do not apologize for the accident. Your apology could be used against you as a statement of liability, and result in the accident being named your fault. Trust us, you don’t want that.

Also, be sure to get the insurance information of everyone involved in the crash, as well as their contact information.

  1. Call 911

Regardless of the extent of the damages or injuries, call 911 after an accident. Let them know if someone is hurt so that they can send an ambulance, and always have them send the police. When the police arrive, they will analyze the scene of the accident and file a police report. Other drivers in the accident may ask not to get the police involved, but it is crucial to call them regardless. Their report will name a party of the accident at fault, and will be critical when filing claims with an insurance company.

Even if you do not believe you are injured, you should seek medical attention yourself. Injuries from accidents may not be immediately obvious, and failure to see a doctor can negatively impact you in insurance negotiations.

  1. Call An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Once the dust has settled and everyone is safe, contact a skilled attorney, like a personal injury attorney Atlanta GA trusts, in your area. Negotiations with an insurance company can be complicated, and you need to know that your rights are being protected. Your attorney will be able to explain what steps to take next, and make sure that you receive compensation for any damages to your property.

Andrew R. Lynch, P.C.Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into auto accident cases.