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Follow the four Ds after a car accident

A vehicle accident can be shocking and enough to send most people into fight or flight reflex. In a heightened state, it can be difficult to concentrate or know what to do next. One way to ensure you don't miss anything is to follow the four Ds if you are in a car accident: Determine, document, do research and decide.

First, determine critical factors about the accident. Start with yourself. Can you safely remove yourself from the wreckage? Are you able to move, and are you hurt? Next, move on to anyone else involved in the incident. Is anyone in need of immediate assistance to get away from danger? Is anyone hurt? Call 911 and report all of this information.

If you are able and it is safe to do so, document the accident scene. Take cellphone pictures of the damage and collect information about who was involved and who might have witnessed the accident. Exchange insurance information with all involved drivers.

After the accident is done and you've been treated for any injuries, do some research. Review your own policy and damages, the police report and any information you have about the other driver's damages. Now is the time to conduct research on a personal law attorney if you think you might want to file a claim. You might want to consult with a law professional before moving on to the fourth D.

Finally, decide what action you will take. What type of claim will you file, will you settle or do you want to file a lawsuit?

Source: Nerd Wallet, "What to Do After a Car Accident," Donna Freedman, accessed July 29, 2016

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