A car accident can put a damper on your day, and a severe one can be hard to recover from, but even for the safest driver, they are sometimes unavoidable. If you’ve been in an accident in your BMW, even if you’re not the one at fault, what do you need to do?

  1. Assess Your Situation

Immediately after the accident, before you even get out of your car, take a moment to assess your situation. Do you appear to be injured? Is your car obstructing traffic or in another unsafe location? Is your car on fire, billowing smoke or creating another hazardous situation?

If you are injured, stay in the car as long as it is safe. Moving after an automotive injury can make the injury worse. If it isn’t safe to stay in the car, though, vacate and move to a safe location.

During this time, you should also call 911, both to report the accident and to request assistance from emergency personnel if necessary. After calling the police, make sure you call your insurance company to alert them to the accident as well.

  1. Collect Information

You will also need to collect information from the other drivers, and from drivers who have witnessed the accident. It is important to note that if you are severely injured or unable to escape your vehicle, you will be unable to collect this information. In this case, the police or other first responders who arrive on the scene will take notes.

If you do collect information, you will need the following:

  • Driver name and contact information for other drivers involved in the crash
  • Insurance information
  • Car information: make, model, year, color, etc.
  • Contact information for any witnesses

You will also want to document the accident as well as possible. Keep a camera in your car or use your phone’s camera to take pictures of license plates, damage to both vehicles, any indicators of damage — such as skid marks — and landmarks to indicate the location of the accident.

  1. Head to the Doctor

Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, or you’ve only been in a small fender bender, it’s important to make an appointment with your family doctor for two reasons:

  1. Soft-tissue injuries like those often caused by car accidents can take days or weeks to show symptoms. Your doctor can help identify the signs and symptoms before they manifest.
  2. The longer you wait to visit your doctor after an accident, the harder it becomes to prove the injuries you’ve experienced resulted from the accident. Having the paper trail makes dealing with your insurance company easier.
  3. Repair and Recovery

One the paperwork is done, and your BMW has been towed, it’s time to think about repair and recovery for both you and your vehicle.

Severe injuries don’t necessarily have to be debilitating. One case that recently made the news involved a woman who, through the use of aquatic therapy, was able to walk again after a severe car accident and multiple surgeries.

Repairing your BMW might be a bit trickier, depending on the severity of the accident. Some BMWs have problems that crop up after the repairs are done, long after the accident. Some users have reported transmission problems, electrical problems and their “check engine” light coming on after the repairs have been completed, though BMW doesn’t officially recognize any of these as related to the accidents themselves.

Take the time to take care of yourself after an accident, even if you feel like you haven’t been injured. Schedule an appointment with your doctor and make sure everything’s OK.