Nobody wants to get into a car accident, but if you do, it can be an incredibly stressful experience. However, there are certain steps you can take to make sure you’re prepared and that the situation is handled in the best way possible. Here are some tips to help you navigate what comes after being involved in a car accident:

1. Check for injuries and call 911:

The first thing you should do after getting into a car accident is to check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone needs medical treatment, dial 911 immediately so that an ambulance can come quickly.

2. Move your vehicle out of harm’s way:

If your vehicle has minor damages or does not pose an immediate risk of danger, move it out of the way of oncoming traffic and onto the shoulder of the road.

3. Exchange information with all parties involved:

It’s important to exchange contact and insurance information with any other drivers who were involved in the accident, as this will be necessary for filing an auto claim later.

Don’t let the other person leave without getting their information. If they refuse and start to leave, get a picture of their license plate number and record any details you can remember about the car, the driver, and any passengers.

If there are witnesses that have stopped but want to leave before the police get there, get their names and numbers as well. That way, you can contact them later if necessary.

4. Take photos:

Be sure to take pictures of your vehicle, any damages sustained, and the scene overall—these can come in handy when filing a claim or speaking to legal counsel.

5. File an accident report:

If the damage was minor enough that you didn’t call police to the scene, call them now and file a police report as soon as possible, even if there were no injuries or major damage. Ask the responding officer for the case number of the traffic collision report so that you’ll have it when filing your claim with your insurance company.

6. Contact your insurance company:

Once you’ve gathered all the required information from the other parties involved, get in touch with your insurance provider so they can start processing your claim quickly.

7. Speak to a lawyer:

If the accident resulted in some pretty significant damages, it may be worth consulting with a car accident lawyer to ensure that you’re getting the full coverage and assistance you deserve.

8. Seek medical attention:

Even if the incident seemed minor, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor just in case—you never know if something could be overlooked or hidden from view.

No one wants to be involved in an auto accident, but being prepared can go a long way toward helping you stay calm and ensuring that everything is handled properly. Hopefully these tips will help make your experience as stress-free as possible!