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Should I Call 911 After a Car Accident?

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents


In the U.S., you’re taught to call 911 in case of emergency, but not for minor incidents. For instance, if you are hurt in an accident and you, a family member, or friend can drive to the emergency room, then there’s no need to call 911. However, there are many gray areas and what happens when you aren’t sure if it’s appropriate to call? The police might be helpful, yet not entirely necessary. Car accidents often lead to situations where you ask yourself, should I call 911? To decide yes or no, you’ll need to answer a few questions quickly.

If you were hurt in an accident, you should immediately seek appropriate medical treatment, but then contact a car accident lawyer from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a consultation.

Is Anyone Hurt?

If you or anyone is injured in the car crash, call 911. This is the fastest way to report the accident and get emergency medical help on the way. Even if you think an injury is minor, call 911. Unless you’re a physician, you are not going to recognize signs of a more serious injury. For instance, it’s common for your chest and back to hurt after a crash because of the force against the seat belt. However, you might not realize you have a broken bone.

Is There Considerable Damage?

Whether or not you should call 911 and ask for the police depends on the amount of damage caused by the collision. If one or both of the vehicles are still drivable, you may not need to see the police right away. You can contact 911 to record the occurrence of the accident, yet tell them you do not need the police, or not call at all. Make sure to exchange insurance information and file a police report as soon as possible. If the vehicles are both seriously damaged and cannot be driven away, you should consider whether the accident blocks traffic or creates a danger to others.

Is the Accident Blocking Traffic?

If any of the vehicles involved is blocking traffic and cannot be safely moved, then you should call. Also, if you can see that there is gasoline, glass, or other debris on the ground that could create a hazard for other motorists or pedestrians, contact 911. The police will need to come to the scene of the accident and direct traffic or close the road.

Is the Other Driver Showing Signs of Intoxication?

If you are hit by another driver and they show signs of being intoxicated, such as slurring their words or lack of coordination, call 911. You do not want a drunk driver getting back into their car and heading on their way. Also, if the other driver is in fact on drugs or over the legal limit, then you want the police to arrest the person for a DUI. This gives you evidence of the other driver’s fault and can help later on with your legal claim.

When to Not Call 911

Essentially, you do not need to call the police if no one is hurt, there is minimal property damage, and the accident is not blocking traffic or creating a hazard. For a fender bender or minor collision, exchange contact and insurance information and file a police report on your own. If you aren’t sure if your car is drivable, call a tow truck to take it to your home or mechanic.

Contact Our Lawyers for Help

If you were hurt in a car accident, you should always call the experienced attorneys of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 and schedule a free initial consultation. Whether or not you called 911 after the crash, we can help you navigate an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit for your injuries and property damage.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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