A car accident is always a scary experience, but with the right information you can be prepared for a crash at any time. Have you ever used your cell phone while driving? Eaten behind the wheel or set your GPS while driving? Maybe if you haven’t, you’ve seen someone else. All of these things can result in distracted driving which can easily lead to a car accident.

According to the CDC, an estimated 2.3 million adult motor vehicle occupants had non-fatal injuries in emergency departments in 2009.

In order to be prepared for a car accident keep your insurance information and a pen and paper in your car. Remember, it is illegal to drive without proof of insurance. If your cell phone doesn’t have a camera, or if takes low quality pictures, you may also want to keep a disposable camera in your car in order to take pictures of the damages.

This great article from cars.com has a comprehensive guide to what to do after a car accident. Follow these seven steps to maintain your safety and have enough information to give your insurance company, and possibly even a car accident lawyer.

Get Off the Road

Before you start gathering information from the other driver after a crash, it’s important to get to safety as quickly as possible. If you had a minor fender bender, you don’t have to leave the cars where they are. The police will not come to file a report on a minor accident; however, they will come to tell you to move your vehicle. Move out of the way of oncoming traffic to keep you and the other drivers safe. But if you can’t move your car without causing further damage, don’t try. Your insurance company should be able to hire a tow truck to move it for you.

Watch What You Say

After an accident, you should speak to the other driver only to get his or her information and to make sure the driver is OK. Don’t admit fault or say “I’m sorry” during your conversation as it could be used against you in court.

Gather Information

Your insurance company will need certain information to file your claim. Some insurance providers offer forms that can keep you organized while gathering information. You may need to fill out information on the other drivers involved, the name of your insurance representative and whether there is damage on your car.

If you’re in a crash, write down the following information of the people involved:

– Name
– Address
– Phone number
– Email address
– Make, model and year of the car
– License plate number
– Insurance carrier
– Insurance policy number

Take these photos, if you can:

– Damage to your vehicle
– Accident location
– People involved with the accident

Get information from the officer if one is on the scene:

– Name
– Badge or ID number
– Phone number
– Police report number

Ask the police officer for a copy of the police report. The officer’s opinion of the accident will be useful if the drivers have a dispute during claims processing. The police report will also have the officer’s information on it just in case the officer is needed to testify.

Note: The other driver or the police will not need your Social Security number; don’t give it to them.

File Your Claim

Call your insurance company to start your claim; your insurance company’s phone number is most likely staffed 24/7. You may also be able to check on your claim process by going to your insurance company’s website. You will likely be contacted by your claims representative within 24 hours to discuss the details of your claim.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a car accident, the motor vehicle accident attorneys at Revelli & Luzzo can help determine the negligent party and get you the compensation you deserve. Call our motor vehicle accident attorneys or request a free consultation with our car accident attorneys so we can help you.