No matter who’s responsible, getting in a car accident is always a scary event. Even in the aftermath, after the worst has occurred, it can be tough getting your pulse to slow down enough to know what to do. However, it’s essential you focus on what needs to be done as the next few minutes are critical. Some people do what comes naturally and it ends up costing them dearly. Here are some examples of what to avoid.

Obviously, you never want to drive away from the scene of a crime. Hit and runs are an especially common occurrence in San Diego, and 11 have already occurred this year. Even if the other driver leaves the scene, you need to call and report the accident to the police.

Many drivers make the mistake of not doing this. After all, if no one was injured and both drivers simply reach a “gentlemen’s agreement”, what’s the point? Here’s the problem: even if you trade insurance information, you can’t be sure they’re being honest with you or that their insurance is even up to date. Keep in mind, something like one in seven people on the road generally don’t have insurance.

The words you choose in the wake of an accident are important too. Obviously, the first thing you should do after assessing your wellbeing and that of everyone in your car is to ask about the other people involved in the accident. What you don’t want to do is let your temper get the better of you and incite an argument. You also don’t want to take the blame, even if you believe it may be yours. Legally, this isn’t always the case.

One of the best things you can do is have the number for a reliable personal injury attorney on you. That should be your first call after alerting the authorities. Without an attorney on your side, you could be unfairly found guilty of the accident.