Should You Call 911 After a Car Wreck?
The quick answer to this is yes. When you call 911 after a car wreck, you save lives and protect your own rights. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that there were approximately 6.7 million car wrecks in the United States in 2019. Of those 6.7 million, 1.9 million involved personal injuries.
But you will likely be wondering what to do no matter what if it happens to you. The decision to call 911 is never an easy one. It always means there’s a horrible day happening in your or someone else’s life. If you are wondering whether or not you should, it is likely best to call. If there is an injury during the collision, the answer is an even bigger yes.
The Law Says Yes
The law wants you to call for help in the event of a car accident. California Vehicle Code Division 10, Chapter 1, Section 20008 says you should file a report of the accident to the California Highway Patrol within 24 hours of the incident. This is the case when there are injuries or a fatality. If you are unable to file the report yourself due to injury, someone else in the car is allowed to do so.
California insurance laws also want you or your passengers to seek medical attention immediately. It will be the first question you are asked by a lawyer, an insurance agent, or the police. Medical treatment often starts at the scene, so it is wise to call 911, even if you aren’t sure.
Even If There is Only Property Damage, Consider Calling 911
A lot of people think that 911 for a car accident is strictly related to personal injury. This is not always the case. California is an at-fault case when it comes to collisions. If the other driver was at fault, they would be responsible for damages, even for damage to your vehicle.
911 is a service that offers the first response of any kind. Many car wrecks in California result in criminal charges or penalties for moving violations. You will need the police for that, which is a service provided by 911. In addition, it is against the law to leave the scene of an accident without reporting the collision, and your information, to the police and the other drivers involved.
Is the Car Wreck Impeding Traffic?
Another stipulation of California law is that you move your vehicle out of the way of traffic if you can. There may be several instances where you are unable to do so:
● You are injured
● The vehicle is too damaged
● There is gasoline, debris, or other items on the road that make it unsafe to move the car
In these cases, the police and potential other emergency responders will need to be called to help clear the road or direct traffic.
After you call 911 and receive the medical help you need for your injuries, your next important call should be to a California car accident lawyer. The right law firm can stand up for your rights as a car accident victim and will know the best course of action for your case.