No one can predict when car accidents will happen, and no one ever thinks it will happen to them, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are an estimated 17,250 vehicle crashes every single day in the US.

So, if you ever find yourself involved in an auto accident, here are some practical things to do at the time of the crash:

1. Take pictures of your car & the other car. I once had the other driver switch cars after a crash.

2. Take a picture of the other driver, the driver’s insurance card and driver’s license. Sometimes, the car owner will later claim someone else was using the car without permission to get out of being responsible. We can beat it with a picture.

3. Write down contact information from the witnesses. Do not rely on the police for this.

4. Before you get out of your car, make sure that you are physically safe to do so. Don’t move if you have immediate neck or back pain since this might be dangerous. If the police come, make sure to tell the officer that you are injured. Get checked out by EMS if you have immediate pain.

5. If you are broadsided or T-boned, this can be REALLY DANGEROUS for you. It can tear the blood vessels around your heart so get checked out IMMEDIATELY.

6. Pay attention to the other driver.  Do you notice the smell of booze, do they seem drugged, were they using their cell phone? Ask the driver why the crash happened. 

7. Keep your cool. Don’t get angry and don’t hit the other driver (had a client who did this and she got arrested!)

8. Besides the police officer and medical personnel, do not talk to anyone else about the crash. You’ll get lots of letters and calls and even text messages from chiropractors, lawyers, body shops etc.

9. Resist speaking to an insurance agent. If one calls, tell them that you have a lawyer and you are not to talk to them. Give no taped statement.

10. Hire a lawyer! (This is not legal advice.)