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What to expect when the unexpected occurs

If a negligent or reckless driver causes you injury, you may be in for a difficult recovery. In the immediate aftermath of a crash, however, few people know exactly what to do. No one plans to be in an accident. Accidents happen when you least expect it.

Below are three actions you can take to keep yourself calm and preserve your rights after a crash.

The three things to remember after a crash

Many people in accidents go into shock. This is your body's way to protect you. Shock can last minutes, hours or days. It's best to try to remain calm, breathe slowly and deeply, and stay as calm as possible. Doing these three things can help you maintain control over your situation.

  • Safety first: Remove yourself from danger first. If you are on a busy road, stay in the car. If you can pull over, do so slowly when traffic clears. Call 911 as soon as it is safe; don't assume anyone else has. 
  • Document what happened: The more details you can document about the events that led to your accident, the better. Take pictures, if it is safe to do so. Write down everything you can remember about the crash once you are safe. Take note if there were witnesses to the crash. 
  • Pay ongoing attention to your health: If you happen to feel fairly well in the immediate aftermath of a collision, it's not a guarantee that things will stay that way. Not all injuries are immediately apparent. Paying close attention to how you feel as well as any symptoms that might later present themselves is a key factor in achieving a full recovery. If you experience neck pain, dizziness, inability to sleep, chest pain, headaches or any other cognitive or physical symptoms, it warrants another trip to the hospital.

Even minor injuries require rest and appropriate medical attention to heal. You might have to take time off work, especially if you suffered any broken bones. If you are temporarily disabled in some way after an accident, it might help to enlist the assistance of a close family member or friend to help you carry out your daily tasks during recovery.

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