You always buckle up, drive at or below speed limit and drive defensively. But in a split-second you’ve collided with another vehicle and your car is in pieces, while your head is spinning.

Getting in a car accident can be hard to process, especially if you are safe driver. Since anyone can fall victim to a collision, it’s important to understand what steps you should take before leaving the scene of the crash.

Don’t go anywhere

Whether you hit the other car or another vehicle struck you, it’s important to remain on the scene. Facing a hit-and-run charge is going to create a lot more hassle than having to deal with car repairs. Without exchanging insurance and contact information with the other party, you risk losing out on compensation if you weren’t at fault. Instead, you should assess your injuries, check on others and call the police if anyone has injuries, there is a lot of property damage or if the other driver involved doesn’t have proper insurance.

Compile evidence

Not only should you exchange info with the other driver, but it’s also worth collecting as much evidence of the accident as you can if you are even slightly considering filing claim. This can include talking to witnesses and getting their contact information, taking pictures of all the damage and gathering repair estimates. Creating a thoughtful paper trail will help you settle your case in your favor.

See a doctor

You might not need immediate medical attention, but it’s still crucial you see a physician as soon as possible. Car accident injuries are often internal and take a few days to fully develop, especially if you experienced whiplash. Not only is it important to treat injuries early on, but even small medical bills can stack up quickly and you will, again, need proof to collect damages.

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. But recouping one step at a time and working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get your life back on track and your car back on the road.