Nobody likes a car accident. In fact, they can be some of the most harrowing experiences around. Depending on the crash, your life may have been endangered, you may have endangered someone else’s life, and your vehicle might be seriously damaged. That’s a pretty thorough day-ruiner. There are only so many things one can do to make an experience like a car accident easy to deal with, but the right knowledge and actions can help you keep control of what happens next. This might very well mean the difference between a serious inconvenience and a full-blown nightmare. Plenty of systems and companies exist to help you out after you’re in an accident, but with a situation as touchy as an auto crash, it’s important that you know how to navigate the sea of red tape you might find yourself dealing with.

First and foremost, you must make sure to survey the damage. Take everything in at the site of the accident. Take notes, snap photos, record as much evidence of everything that happened as you can. While you’re doing this, try not to really talk too much to anybody. After an accident, everybody’s pretty significantly shaken up, and people tend not to think super clearly. Don’t talk to anyone but the police or your insurance agent, and definitely don’t admit any kind of fault or liability, in absolutely any way. Keep mostly to yourself and gather all the information you’ll need for the next steps.

Definitely get the name, address, and phone number of the other individuals involved in the accident. Get their insurance info and VIN, as well as licence plate number and a vehicle description. Record everything you can, because not every insurance company is optimally thorough.

Filing an accident report with the police is another way to properly protect yourself by ensuring that there’s as much documentation surround the details of the accident as possible. If the crash is a little “fender-bender,” then you might not need to involve the police. For anything more serious, the police should be called, and if there is any kind of injury, then 911 emergency services should be called immediately, no matter what.

Call your insurance agent right off the bat, and DO NOT wait to file your claim. File immediately. This cannot be stressed enough. Getting your claim in right away is the key to ending the situation as quickly as possible. Get the wheels moving, and be prepared from a call from the other agency to talk about the accident. Give your statement and do anything you need to, making sure you tell the truth at every single step of the way.

Just try not to stress out too much. The only way to get through a situation like a car accident is simply to get through it. Make sure you arm yourself with as much knowledge and detail as possible, and surround yourself with the most professional help you can. It’s almost never hard to find an auto accident lawyer Atlanta-based or otherwise. Making sure you know all the right steps to filing your claim, however, will help make the entire process more simple and manageable.