No one ever plans on getting in a car accident, so when it happens, it's easy to feel a little disoriented or confused. Still, the first moments immediately following an accident can have a large impact on your chances in a court of a law if things should one day escalate to that point. In order to protect your legal rights, make it a point to always do these three things during the first minutes following a car accident.

Call the Police and File a Report

If all that happened was just a small fender bender, you might think it's not that important to involve the authorities. But the person that hit you could end up changing their story after leaving the scene. If it's going to be a story of he said, she said in court, it is critical to have a report from an independent third party. Always contact the police and ask them to file an official report regarding your accident. Call them even if the other party doesn't plan on sticking around.

Photograph Everything

Another thing that can be a big help to you in court is visual evidence. Yes, you can certainly type out a transcript of the events as they went down, but it can help a judge or jury if they can actually see what you are talking about for themselves. Don't just photograph the damage to your car, photograph the other person's car as well. In addition, photograph the street you were driving down and the direction or road from which the other vehicle was traveling from before you collided with each other. If you're using your phone, back up the photos to your computer or cloud storage immediately upon getting home.

If Injured, Contact an Attorney

After you leave the scene, one of the first things you should do if you feel any discomfort at all is to contact a car accident lawyer. The insurance companies involved will be determining the liability but it can help if you have an attorney to serve as the point man for your contact with claims workers. An experienced attorney can also help you tackle things like medical expenses if your injuries are more severe. More than anything, having an attorney on your side will help protect your legal rights so that you can get restitution for your injuries if desired.

The aftermath of a car accident can be hectic. It's important in this situation to keep a cool head and fully document everything that happened, with photographs and a police report if possible. If you suffered significant damage to your property or you think you might have been injured, contact a car accident lawyer for assistance as soon as possible.