Getting in a car accident can leave you reeling in so many ways. A wreck can have a long-term impact on your life, but you may not lessen the blow if you can’t keep your wits about you.

Motor vehicle accidents cause millions of injuries every year, with expenses soaring into the billions. If you’re sharing a portion of those injuries, you may want to pass on your cut of the costs. There are a few steps you should follow after a car accident and just as many that you should avoid if you want to increase your chances of financial assistance.

Claim damage

There are a few steps to the process that you should avoid immediately following an accident:

  • Leave the scene: One of the worst ways to start the post-accident process is by leaving the accident prematurely. New York law generally expects you to at least swap information with the parties involved, and you’ll likely need to call the police when there’s an injury. Failing to do so could place a big hurdle in the way of your claim.
  • Admit some fault: Determining who is at fault doesn’t fall on your shoulders. Taking a small share of the blame could end up costing you compensation down the line, even if you were just trying to make the other party feel better. You’ll typically need to exchange information after an accident, but any conversation beyond that might count against your claim in the future.
  • Skip the care: Your health should be your number one concern after an accident. Adrenaline can mask injuries, so avoiding medical care because you don’t think you’re hurt can be deadly. The second reason is linking your injury to the wreck. The longer you wait to get treatment, the larger the window is for arguments that the injury happened elsewhere, or isn’t as bad as you indicate.

Mistakes can cost you the crucial help you need. Even though accidents can throw you for a loop, you could benefit by staying aware of your actions when it matters the most.