If you are involved in a car accident, it’s easy to feel as if your world is spinning out of control. From your injuries to the damage to your vehicle, you have a lot on your plate. Furthermore, if you’ve never been part of a car accident in the past, you may not have any idea of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

There are several key steps to take after a car accident, all of which can protect you and your legal rights. Here are five that you can’t overlook:

  • Check yourself for injuries: As soon as you move your vehicle to safety, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Don’t be surprised by anything you find. Instead, take immediate action by administering first aid until an ambulance arrives at the scene.
  • Call 911: Even though police and an ambulance may arrive on their own, you don’t want to risk it. Call 911, tell the dispatcher what happened, and let them know that you (and possibly others) require medical attention.
  • Wait where you are: Unless you were part of a minor fender bender, it’s best to stay in your vehicle as you treat your injuries. Getting out, especially if you are still in traffic, can result in another accident.
  • Exchange information: This is not always possible, especially if you are dealing with the impact of a serious injury. However, if you have the opportunity to do so, exchange information with the other driver while collecting information related to the accident.
  • Receive medical attention: The responding ambulance can transport you to a local hospital for treatment. At that point, you’ll better understand your injuries and the type of treatment you require.

These are the five things you should do as quickly as possible after a car accident. As time allows, review your insurance policy and call your agent to file a claim. You don’t want to wait too long to do this, so you may need to ask a trusted family member or friend to assist you.

While your health is top priority, it’s critical to take a variety of steps to protect your legal rights. Doing so puts you in position to hold the negligent driver responsible for their actions that caused the accident.