In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you may be in shock, full of adrenaline and unsure of what to do next. It’s common sense to call 911, but it is not always necessary. Many people don’t realize that you actually have up to 10 days following an accident to file a police report and that the report does not have to be made at the scene of the accident. However, sometimes it is very important to make the call. In this article we will go over when it is necessary to call 911 after an accident, and when it is okay to file a report later.

When to Call 911 After a Car Crash

  • There’s a possibility of injury. If there is any possibility of injury, you should call 911 immediately. Assuming you are not a doctor, you are in no position to make an educated guess as to whether someone is injured or not, so always air on the side of assuming that injury is possible. In this situation, it’s always better safe than sorry. Some serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, concussions, internal bleeding, and organ damage, are not always physically obvious, so use your best judgment. If, based on the severity of the wreck, or the demeanor of the other driver, you think it’s possible that someone is injured or should be checked out, then make the call.
  • Your cars or vehicles are blocking the road. If the accident is causing a traffic obstruction, it is important to call police so that they can safely clear the roadway. It’s important not to attempt to drive or move your vehicles again if they seem to have suffered serious damage or have any gas or oil leaks. If you cannot safely move your vehicles to the side of the road, it is always best to call 911. Also make sure to get photos and footage of the accident and damage before the vehicles are moved if you are able.
  • There is debris in the road. If the accident caused debris, such as shattered glass, vehicle parts, or cargo, to be left in the road, it’s important to call 911 and report it because those things can present a serious hazard to other drivers. They can also be very dangerous for you to try and clear yourself.
  • If the other driver seems intoxicated or disoriented. If the other driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will likely do everything they can to convince you that they are fine and to persuade you not to call 911, however, it’s critical to trust your gut and call 911 if anything seems off. The sooner police report to the scene to conduct a breathalyzer and field sobriety test, the more accurate the record will be. This will be helpful in determining liability for the accident, as a drunk driver will be found negligent. Otherwise, it may be harder to prove if it is just your word against theirs, days or weeks later.

Talk to a Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a Pennsylvania car accident, our lawyers are ready to zealously advocate on your behalf and help you navigate the process. Schedule a free initial consultation with the  personal injury attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Pittston at 570-821-5717 or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.

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