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When you get into a car accident, it’s important to know what steps you need to protect yourself and your vehicle. Some of these steps will be dependent on where you live. For example, in large urban areas, police officers are so busy that they don’t respond to minor traffic accidents, but that makes following the rest of the steps even more important since an officer won’t be present to help document the incident.

These are the basic steps to follow for anyone who is involved in a car accident.

1. Stay Calm – Getting upset will only make the situation worse especially if you or anyone else is injured.

2. Look for Injuries – The first priority when dealing with an accident is treating injuries. If you or a passenger in your car is seriously injured, don’t move the vehicle. Call 911 for help. If you are okay, check if the other driver or passengers are injured.

3. Clear the Road – The second priority is to get the road cleared so that no other collisions are caused by the initial accident. If everyone is okay, it’s all right to move the cars out of the roadway as long as police won’t be responding. This will depend on where the accident occurs. If police will respond, don’t move the cars until directed to do so by the officer. If the car is inoperable and no one is hurt, get everyone out and over to the side of the roadway where they will be safer.

4. Report the Accident – If you are in an area where law enforcement responds to traffic accidents, report it so an officer will respond and complete a report that will include the circumstances of the collision, inclusive information for all drivers, and damage estimates. You will be able to get a copy of the report to submit to your insurance agent to support your auto insurance claim.

5. Take Pictures of the Damage – If you have a camera phone, take your own pictures of the area, all vehicles involved, and any other damage, such as property damage that occurred as a result of the accident.

6. Exchange Information with the Other Driver – If you are able to access the information from the police report, then this step will not be necessary.

7. File an Insurance Claim – Depending on the severity of the damages and personal injuries, you can decide if you want to file an auto insurance claim. This may be difficult if the accident was your fault, but you can still consult your insurance agent to review all of your options. Some local auto body shops will also help you file your insurance claim.

8. Get Your Car Repaired – Your insurance company or its adjuster may refer you to an auto body shop because the referral is the least expensive for them, but it may not be the best option for you. You will want to search for a reliable experienced body shop like Anderson Auto Body and Paint that will complete thorough collision repairs and help with insurance claims. The technicians should all be certified and should make readily available their reviews and years of service to the community.

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be stressful. Having a trustworthy auto body shop on your side can help make things easier for you.