After a car accident, you're likely going to need to work with your insurance company. This process can be time-consuming, but it's crucial to do it properly. If you've never done this before, here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind.

What to Do

Call the accident in right away. Get the process started. In most cases, you also want to call the police, especially when you're injured. When reporting it, do take pictures and write out notes about the crash. It's best to do this while the details are still fresh in your mind. Get witness statements. As you wade through the whole process after the crash, keep track of your expenses. Save receipts or track purchases online. Remember that this could go beyond just fixing your car. For instance, if the accident happened while you were traveling for business, you may get stuck far from home and have expenses like hotel rooms, food, lost wages, and more.

Of course, if you were hurt, your biggest expenses may be in hospital bills. Keep track of these, document everything, and even keep track of costs once you get out of the hospital and you need to buy medicine, painkillers, cleaning solutions, or anything else related to your injury.

What Not to Do

Without talking to your lawyer first, don't give a statement to your insurance company admitting or denying fault. Don't sign a waiver or a release. Don't accept any financial deals without knowing the scope of available compensation first -- for example, you may be offered a check saying "Final Payment". Accepting it can limit your options severely. Don't automatically accept any numbers that are given to you, such as an appraisal of the damage that seems too low.

The key is to move slowly, really consider all of your options, and make informed decisions.

Other Compensation

Finally, remember that you may be entitled to more compensation than you get from your insurance policy. For instance, if another driver caused the crash, you may be able to sue him or her directly to seek compensation for injuries and medical bills that go well past the cost of replacing or fixing your car. Look into all available options to get what you deserve.