Nothing can ruin your day faster than becoming involved in a Texas auto accident. Despite the fact that your accident likely will leave you physically, mentally and emotionally shaken, you nevertheless need to remain as calm as possible.

Unfortunately, the steps you take in the immediate aftermath may well determine how easy or difficult your life will be in the following months should you need to file a lawsuit. Consequently, you need to make good choices in what you do. Here are the six most important steps you should take.

  1. Stay put

Stay where you are if at all possible until law enforcement officers arrive. If you leave too soon, you face the possibility of being charged with hit-and-run or leaving the scene of an accident.

  1. Check for injuries

Quickly assess the condition of yourself and each of your passengers. Then assess the condition of all other drivers involved in the accident and their passengers. Call 911 for emergency medical assistance should anyone appear to have sustained serious injuries. Whether or not anyone appears injured, request law enforcement assistance.

Keep in mind that some injuries—even serious ones, such as traumatic brain injuries—only show symptoms after the adrenaline of the accident begins wearing off.

  1. Gather information

Get the following information from all other drivers:

  • Complete contact information including name, address, phone number and email address
  • Driver’s license number and state
  • Vehicle license plate number, county and state
  • Insurance company contact information
  1. Take pictures

Take cellphone pictures of the following:

  • Each vehicle’s make and model
  • Its license plate
  • Its apparent new damage
  • Its apparent prior damage
  1. Make a police report

Once officers arrive, note each one’s name and badge number. Answer their questions truthfully but briefly. Do not say anything that even hints that you think you may have caused the accident. Obtain the accident report number and find out how, when and where you can get a copy of it.

  1. Call your insurance company

Briefly tell your insurance company representative about your accident, but as when talking with officers, say nothing that implies any guilt on your part.

By following these six steps, you can rest assured that you did everything possible to enhance prompt payment of your insurance claim.