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What steps should you take following a car accident?

If you are involved in a car accident, there will be a lot going on around you. This could include serious injuries, high emotions and people who are angry with one another. Even with all this, you need to know what is expected of you. You need to know which steps to take, when to take them, and of course, the things you should avoid.

First things first, make sure you stay at the scene. It is never appropriate to leave the scene of an accident, as this can lead to serious criminal penalties, especially if somebody was injured or killed.

Other steps to take include:

-- Check on your passengers and others involved in the accident. If anybody was injured, contact an ambulance without delay.

-- Exchange information. If you are able to do so, exchange insurance and contact information with the other parties.

-- Collect contact information for witnesses, as these people can help you receive compensation down the road.

-- Inform your car insurance company of the accident.

-- Track all medical treatment, including dates of service, procedures and bills.

-- Take pictures. It is important to do this as soon after the accident as possible.

Don't agree to an early settlement offer with an insurance company. Before you agree to anything, you should know the finer details of the offer and what it means to your situation.

If you are fortunate, you will never be involved in a car accident. If you are, be sure to follow these steps as closely as possible.

Source: FindLaw, "After a Car Accident: First Steps," accessed July 30, 2015

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