There’s no easy way to answer the question of what you should do after a car accident, and here’s why: You never know what types of challenges you’ll face.

For example, if you’re involved in a minor fender bender, you may be able to move to safety and exchange insurance information with the other driver.

Conversely, if you’re seriously injured in an accident, it’s best to stay where you are and worry about getting medical help as quickly as possible.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your health, well-being and legal rights after a car accident:

  • Move to safety: If possible, move your vehicle out of traffic, as this reduces the risk of another accident. If you can’t do so, stay in your vehicle. Standing in close proximity to traffic is extremely dangerous.
  • Call 911: The sooner you do this, the sooner help will arrive. This comes in two forms: police and an ambulance. The first officer on the scene can take control of traffic, assist you with your injuries and create a police report. Paramedics can treat you at the scene and provide transportation to a local hospital, if necessary.
  • Don’t say anything: There’s no good reason to discuss the details of the accident with the negligent driver. Even if they want to do so and begin to ask questions, you can simply decline to answer them.
  • File an insurance claim: You’ll do this after you receive treatment and understand your prognosis. While it’s important to file a claim as quickly as you can, your health is top priority.

While these are the basic steps you should take after an accident, you may have to veer off track along the way. For example, if your vehicle is severely damaged, you won’t be able to move it from traffic.

A motor vehicle accident can change your life in an instant, so you need to get all the help you can. This starts with a focus on your health, and soon turns to your legal rights and how to obtain compensation for your injuries, damage to your vehicle and other losses.