The moments following a car wreck are very stressful. This is likely increased with the severity of the crash. Because you might not be able to think clearly, due to the adrenaline caused by the accident or even a hit to the head, you should have a clear plan for what needs to happen.

Your actions and words after the car wreck can have an impact on what happens in the future. For example, you shouldn’t admit fault, even if you were the person who caused the incident. Here are some other points to remember if you are ever in this situation:

Check for injuries

Before you move out of your vehicle, make sure that you check yourself for obvious injuries. If you think that you’ve hurt your back or neck, don’t move unless you have to. Spinal cord injuries are often worsened with movement. Ask other occupants of the vehicle you are in if they are injured. Check on any children who are in the car with you and aren’t able to articulate the location or type of pain they are feeling.

Contact emergency services

Call 911 or the local emergency dispatch service to report the crash. The service will send the police out to the scene. They will also ask if you need medical attention. It is a good idea to accept this service if there is a chance that anyone was injured. The fire department might also be sent to the scene. While most wrecks won’t result in a fire, vehicle fluids are highly flammable so this might be a standard precaution.

Stay safe

Typically, staying in your vehicle is the safest place to wait for emergency responders. Turn on your hazard lights and remain buckled up. There are times when this might not be safe. For example, if you notice that a vehicle is smoking or see obvious signs of a fire, you should get far away from it. You have to ensure that you are in a safe place when you leave your vehicle. Other traffic in the area should slow down when they notice the crash, but not all drivers do this.

Gather information

At a minimum, you need to exchange information with the other driver. This include license numbers, contact information and insurance policies. The police officer will also gather information. You should take pictures and make notes for yourself about the crash. This can come in handy if there are any questions about what happened, such as if you opt to pursue a claim for compensation.