A car accident can happen anywhere, anytime – in hundreds of different circumstances. You may be just a couple blocks from home when someone runs a red light and plows into you. Or you are on your way to work one morning when a distracted driver moves into your lane and rams into your car.

Immediately after the crash, you likely are disoriented and don’t know what to do. Here are seven steps to take after an accident, to ensure your safety and the safety of others and report your accident properly:

  1. Check for injuries to yourself, passengers in your vehicle, the other driver and passengers in that vehicle.
  2. Call 911 to report the accident to police and seek immediate medical attention if needed.
  3. Make sure your vehicle and the other driver’s are safely on the side of the road or call a tow truck if needed.
  4. Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, auto insurance information, license plate number and driver’s license number.
  5. Don’t admit fault for the accident to police, the other driver or your insurance company. You want the police and insurance adjusters to make their assessment of who as at fault. You still can receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance company if you are partially at fault.
  6. Take pictures of the accident scene with your smartphone if you can.
  7. Report the accident to your insurance company to begin your claim.

It’s important to remember that if you suffer an injury, it’s best to seek medical treatment right away. You need documentation of your injury for a personal injury claim. You may feel fine after the accident, but then wake up a couple of days later with debilitating neck or back pain or a headache that won’t go away. You may have suffered an injury with delayed symptoms, which is common in car accidents. You then should seek medical treatment as soon as you experience injury symptoms.

You want to do all you can to receive maximum compensation for your injuries. By taking the right steps after the accident occurs, you help ensure that’s possible. However, you may need to consult a personal injury attorney if you face roadblocks getting your medical bills and recovery costs paid.