If you’re part of a car accident, it’s not always easy to make informed decisions. Instead, you will tend to panic, do whatever comes to mind and hope for the best.

Fortunately, if you have a clear understanding of what to do in the event of a car accident, you’re more likely to make the right choices at the right time.

Here are seven steps to take:

  • Check yourself and passengers for injuries: A car accident can cause many injuries, including, but not limited to, broken bones, a concussion, abrasion, burns and ligament tears. Immediately check yourself and passengers for injuries. If you find any, administer first-aid until help arrives.
  • Move to safety: If possible, move your vehicle out of traffic and to the shoulder of the road. Be sure to look around before exiting your vehicle. You don’t want to step into traffic, as this increases the risk of being involved in another accident.
  • Call 911: Don’t delay in calling for help, even if you think you can handle the situation on your own. The dispatcher will send police and an ambulance to the scene to assist you and anyone else involved in the accident.
  • Exchange information: If possible, exchange insurance information and contact details with other drivers. However, if your injuries don’t allow for this, don’t worry about doing so.
  • Receive treatment at a local hospital: Let the ambulance transport you to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, there could be something going on that you’re not yet aware of. For example, not all head injuries show symptoms right away. It can take several hours to realize something is wrong.
  • Document the accident: Take notes regarding what happened, snap photos and collect contact information for any witnesses.
  • Contact your insurance company: You don’t have to get into the finer details of your claim during the first call. Let your insurer know you were part of an accident and provide them with basic information. If you’re not comfortable answering a question, let your agent know that.

If you’re able to take these seven steps after a car accident, you’ll feel much better about your ability to efficiently deal with the aftermath.

As time allows, learn more about your legal rights and anything you can do to hold the negligent driver responsible for causing the accident.