As you travel along your usual route to work or school, one moment of carelessness by a negligent driver can throw your whole life into turmoil. In the face of emotional and physical trauma from a car accident, many people feel lost as they try to handle the aftermath.

Knowing some basic steps to take after your accident can help you start picking up the pieces. You need to take care of your health and safety while also considering your financial future.

Remember safety first

After a crash, safety takes top priority. If you are able, move to the shoulder and turn off your vehicle, as a running engine can present a fire risk after a crash. Put on your flashers to help other drivers notice your stopped car and navigate around you. If anyone has suffered injuries, try not to move them unless necessary.

Get help

In the case of serious injury, call 911 right away. Otherwise, be sure to call the police or highway patrol. The other driver may try to convince you not to summon the authorities; you should never agree. When officers arrive on the scene, provide the information they request to the best of your ability.

Minnesota law also requires you to submit a report within 10 days of the accident if it results in death, injury or property damage worth at least $1,000. Be aware that the police report does not fulfill this requirement.

Get information

No matter how minor the accident may seem at the time, get the other driver’s complete information, including name, address, registration and insurance information. Not all injuries and property damage become instantly apparent on the scene, so it is too early to decide whether you should pursue further action.

Do not admit fault

Do not make any statements indicating you think you might be at fault. This assessment may turn out be entirely incorrect, yet it can damage your case later on.

Seek professional assistance

Whether or not you go the emergency room, get a comprehensive check-up later on. Consult an experienced attorney before you speak to your insurer or representatives from the other driver’s company to learn about your options for filing a lawsuit to recover damages.