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What are the first steps I should take after a car accident?

What are the first steps I should take after a car accident
Most accident victims will feel overwhelmed, disoriented, and shaken up after a motor vehicle collision. As adrenaline rushes through your body, you may say or do things that can harm your claim, which is why it’s so important to know what to do following a car accident, to protect your legal rights, your health, and strengthen your claim. 

What to Do After a Motor Vehicle Collision

The aftermath of an auto accident can be stressful and frightening. Knowing the right steps to take during this challenging time will not only protect your health and legal rights but can also strengthen your claim.

Contact 911 or Non-Emergency Police

Check yourself and the passengers in your vehicle for injuries. If anyone was injured contact 911. If no one appears to be injured, contact the non-emergency police line.

Remain at the Scene

Wait for law enforcement to arrive. During this time, you can exchange insurance information with the other driver.

When law enforcement arrive they will ask for your side of the story. Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident. Stick only to the facts. If the police officer asks if you are injured, say you do not know, even if you feel fine. Some types of injuries will not present symptoms for several hours or days after an accident.

Gather Evidence

After you’ve spoken with law enforcement, take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and vehicle damage. You should also take photos of anything that you believe could have contributed to the accident, such as debris on the road, missing traffic signs, or faulty traffic lights.

Obtain Witness Contact Information

If anyone witnessed the accident, obtain their names and contact information. Witness testimony can help strengthen your case and prove the other driver was at fault for the collision.

Seek Medical Treatment

Even if you do not believe you were injured, you should still seek medical treatment as soon as possible. This will link any injuries you sustained directly to the automobile accident. Make sure you follow your doctor’s treatment instructions carefully and make it to every doctor’s appointment. This can help prove the severity of your injuries.

Notify Your Insurer

Contact your insurer to notify them of the accident. Most insurers require policyholders to notify them of an accident 48-72 hours following an accident.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. A car accident lawyer can handle every aspect of your claim, including filing paperwork, investigating the accident, and negotiating with the insurance company. A car accident lawyer can guide you through every step of the claims process while preventing the insurance company from intimidating you or pressuring you into accepting a lower settlement than what you deserve.

Document the Accident/Preserve Evidence

Write down important accident details. Memories can fade over time. Document what the other driver did or said, what you believe caused the accident, weather conditions, road conditions, and more.

Keep a journal to document how the accident has impacted your life.

You should also keep all receipts, medical bills, medical records, vehicle repair estimates, and any other accident-related documentation.

What Not to Do After a Car Crash

After an auto accident, avoid doing the following to prevent harming your claim:

  • Do not apologize to the other driver
  • Do not admit fault
  • Do not post about the accident on social media
  • Do not ignore your doctor’s treatment instructions or miss doctor’s appointments
  • Do not accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without first speaking with a car accident lawyer
  • Do not try to handle the case alone, especially if you suffered serious injuries, multiple parties are involved, or the insurance company is using bad-faith tactics

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Ben Dominguez


Ben Dominguez, a seasoned attorney based in Houston, offers exceptional legal guidance and representation. With 27 years of experience, Ben has a strong track record of litigating high-profile cases, securing damages for clients, and achieving not-guilty verdicts in serious criminal charges. His expertise extends beyond the courtroom; he has spoken before Texas legislative committees, contributed to political campaigns, and engaged with national media. Located a block from the Museum of Fine Arts, his law firm embodies a commitment to justice, demonstrating a work ethic and personalized approach that are key to successful legal outcomes. Ben’s dedication to respect and understanding for all clients sets him apart in the legal field.  Learn More

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If you were involved in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another person or entity, the personal injury lawyers at the Ben Dominguez Law Firm are here to help.

Let our legal team handle every aspect of your case, so you can focus on what matters most, your health and moving on with your life. Contact us today to learn more.