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If you get into a car accident, what should you do?

No matter how many time you have been in a car accident before, the experience is traumatic. It takes a while for the shock to wear off, and it takes a lot of composure to stay calm and keep your emotions in check after a wreck. The most difficult thing after an accident is dealing with all of the procedural steps -- but they are critical, and you need to take those steps to protect yourself and your interests.

To begin, there are a couple of obvious steps that most people take when they get into an accident without even thinking about them. The first is to stay at the scene of the accident. Some people flee -- and this is a criminal act. Once you remain at the scene though, you should go check on the other drivers or people involved in the wreck. Assist them if they need help.

Then you will want to gather information. Get insurance and contact info from other people involved in the wreck. If people near the scene witnessed the accident, you should talk to them and get statements (and contact info) if you can. Also, take pictures of the scene with a camera or your cellphone.

Later on, you'll need to contact your insurance company. If you were injured in the wreck, make sure you track your recovery and your medical progress. Should evidence turn up that someone was negligent in the build-up to the wreck, you could pursue legal action against them -- and all that information you gathered could prove vital.

Source: FindLaw, "After a Car Accident: First Steps," Accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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