If you are the victim of a car crash, even a minor rear-end collision, the first thing to do is to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. The next steps involve documenting the incident, if you are well enough to do so. You will want to collect information, and your cellphone camera will be quite helpful at this time.

Call the authorities

First, call 911 to summon emergency medical personnel if anyone received injuries. In addition, even if you are only involved in a fender bender, call the police. The law enforcement officer who comes to the scene will write up a report. Ask for a copy as part of your information-gathering efforts. Answer any questions the officer may have, but avoid discussing whom you feel is to blame for the accident.

Use your camera

While you wait for the authorities to arrive, you can begin gathering evidence, and this is where your cellphone camera comes in handy. Take pictures of the crash site, including markers such as street or highway signs. Photograph the damage to your vehicle from various angles. If you have any visible injuries, take pictures yourself, or ask one of your passengers to do so. If possible, snap an image of the license plate of the vehicle that struck yours.

Take notes

Exchange insurance information with the other driver, but do not become chatty, and do not engage in “blame game” conversation. Until a law enforcement officer arrives, you can jot down notes about the time of day, weather conditions, which direction you were traveling in and which direction the other driver was traveling. Also, note names and contact information for anyone who witnessed the crash.

Help your own cause

For your own wellbeing, be sure to see a doctor promptly after the accident. A medical report will tie any injuries you may have directly to the car accident. In addition to the medical report, provide your attorney with the photos and notes you took at the crash site. You have a right to full and fair compensation to cover your medical bills and more, and all the information and pictures you collected will be valuable when the time comes to file an insurance claim.