There is no doubt that getting into a car accident can be both scary and stressful. It is hard to think straight or act rationally when your heart is racing and your adrenaline is flowing. In that moment, you are more concerned about your car, your insurance rate, your health, and the health of others around you. Because of this, a lot of individuals do not know what the proper steps are to take following a car accident.

In 2014, 78,396 traffic accidents were reported to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety – that’s 215 crashes a day. Knowing the following simple tips will help you to be prepared if and when a car accident occurs.

Do – Stay calm. You just got into an accident and your mind and body are on high alert. That’s why it’s best to calm yourself down before taking further action.  Take a deep breath and relax your body and mind.  You should also take this opportunity to check on whether or not you are injured.  If you have been seriously injured, stay where you are and wait for help to arrive.

Do – Call the police. Even if the accident was not severe, always call the police. It is best to have them come to the scene and make an official report documenting the facts of how the accident occurred and to gather the information of all involved parties.  If you are injured, you should report such injuries to the responding officers.

Don’t – Leave the accident scene. Do not leave the scene before the police arrive.  If there has been an injury to any person or damage to any vehicle as a result of the accident, Minnesota law requires to you stay on the scene until certain information has been exchanged.  If you are able to, move your car to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights to warn passing cars of the accident.

Do – Document the details of the accident. Write down or take pictures of the damage and positioning of the involved vehicles and get the contact information of any witnesses.  Make notes about the time of and location of the accident.  Gathering all pertinent information will make it much easier to work with police and insurance companies later on.

Don’t – Admit fault to anyone. Even if you believe the accident was your fault, do not say that to anyone at the scene. Only tell the officer the facts of the accident.

Don’t – Talk about the accident with outside individuals. Do not discuss the accident details with anyone but the police and your attorney.  Anything you say could be used against you later on.  If the other involved party want to talk to you, simply state that you have called the police and would like to wait to discuss the matter with them.

 Do – If you are injured, seek medical care. If you have been or think you have been injured, you should seek appropriate medical care as soon as possible.

Do – Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.  Many people do not know their rights after they have been in an accident.  Insurance companies will go to great lengths to get you to say or do something harmful to your potential claims.  It is, therefore, important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney so that all of your rights are protected.

If you find you have been injured in a car accident, contact Nelson Personal Injury for a free consultation.