There’s no exact science to the steps you should take in the aftermath of a car accident. Since no two situations are the same, you can’t follow an exact formula.

Fortunately, there are some basic steps that anyone can take after a car accident. Here are five things you should do:

  • Get medical attention: This typically starts with calling 911 to request an ambulance. It’s better to do this than to assume you can transport yourself to the hospital or treat your injuries at home.
  • Document the accident: While your health and well-being comes first, don’t hesitate to take steps to document the accident and associated circumstances. For example, make sure the responding officer creates a police report. You’ll want to get a copy for future use.
  • File an insurance claim: You should do this as soon as you can, but it’s important to protect yourself while doing so. For example, don’t give a written or recorded statement until you first consult with a personal injury attorney. Doing so increases the risk of saying something that could harm your ability to obtain compensation.
  • Rely on your personal injury attorney for guidance: This person can answer your questions, show you the way through the legal process and take the steps necessary to maximize compensation.
  • Continue to focus on your injuries and the future: It’s your hope that you soon find yourself on the path to making a full recovery, but some car accident injuries are extremely serious. Continue to receive treatment and work with your medical team to ensure that you give yourself the best possible chance of making a recovery.

Along with the above, exercise patience during this difficult time of your life. Don’t get ahead of yourself with regard to your treatment and recovery. And don’t rush ahead with your insurance claim.

When you follow the basic steps above, while also taking your time, you’re in better position to protect your legal rights and feel better about what the future will bring. You’re in a tough spot, but there’s no reason that you can’t make the most of things.