If you’re hurt in an accident, you want to do everything possible in order to preserve your ability to file a claim and receive compensation for your injuries. It can be hard to know where to start. When you’re hurt in an accident, here’s what to do first:

1. Seek emergency medical attention

The first step to bringing a case is seeking immediate medical attention. Your immediate physical safety is the most important thing to focus on after an accident. All the other steps can follow after you’ve made sure that you and your loved ones have the immediate treatment that they need.

2. Call the police

In addition to making sure that you have emergency medical attention, you should summon the police to the scene. They can prepare a crash report and help you gather evidence for the case. They’ll likely take photographs of the scene and take witness contact information. This information can be vital for your personal injury attorney as they work on your case.

3. Gather any evidence that you can

If you’re able to stay at the scene, it’s helpful to gather some evidence yourself. This can mean taking photos if you have a working camera. Your cell phone camera should do an adequate job taking a few photos of the crash scene. It can also be helpful to write down witness contact information in case law enforcement forgets to talk to anyone.

4. Write down your version of events

As soon as you’re able, sit down and write out your version of what happened. Even if you think that a detail is unimportant, include it in your narrative. You don’t know what might be critical information on down the line. Memories fade quickly, and you might be surprised how hard it is to recall details of the crash only a few days later.

5. Continue to seek medical treatment

One of the things you need to do in order you win your personal injury case is to show that you have injuries. This means that you need to seek ongoing treatment for physical and mental problems that you have because of the crash. It’s important to follow your doctor’s care plan. In addition to how important this is for your physical and emotional recovery, this also establishes a pattern of your losses for your attorney to use as a basis for your claims.

6. Contact an attorney

Now that the dust has settled, it’s best to get an personal injury attorney on board as soon as possible. There are many things that your attorney wants to do in order to preserve as much evidence as possible and begin to build your case. Your attorney can evaluate your case and discuss what kind of recovery you might expect.

Your attorney will likely contact witnesses in order to ask them for detailed statements. They’re going to want a copy of the crash report, and they may even try to speak to the investigating officer as soon as possible. The sooner you have an attorney on your side, the sooner they can get to work preserving evidence and advocating on your behalf. They can also help you work with any insurance companies that may be working on the case.

You only have a limited amount of time to bring your case. For accidents, it’s almost always three years from the date of your accident. It’s important to work with your personal injury attorneys to make sure that you get your case filed by the deadline.

Your attorney works with you to make sure that you file the case in the right court. They discuss your physical and emotional injuries to make sure that you request all of the types of damages that might be appropriate in the case. Having an attorney working for you as early as you can helps you make sure you advocate for top compensation at every step in your case.