How do I deal with 9-1-1 after a car crash?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Firm News

It finally happened. Someone hit you. Now, what?

Well, after asking if everyone is OK, call 9-1-1. What you say on this call can affect whether you get help and whether you get a police report written by a police officer.


Before calling 9-1-1, take a breath and ask your passengers if they are hurt. Observe if they have obvious injuries and whether anyone is unconscious.

Now, take another breath before you call 9-1-1. You want to be as calm as possible to ensure you can answer their questions about your motor vehicle accident.

Location, location, location

If you do not know where you are, look around for street signs or check your car or phone GPS. The first question the 9-1-1 dispatcher will ask is for your location.

This is to ensure that if the call disconnects, you still get help. Your cell phone may be associated with your address, not necessarily your exact location.

It is also to ensure that you have the appropriate dispatch center for your location and that the right emergency personnel are dispatched. Since you are on your cell phone, you may not be routed to the appropriate call center. Be as precise with your location as possible.

Be specific

You know you need a North Dakota police officer. Ask for one. You also know that you need an ambulance. Ask for one as well.

And, if you see fires or liquids draining from either of your cars, ask for the fire department as well. If you ask for a police or ambulance, the fire department is usually dispatched as well. This is because every car accident has the possibility of fire and explosion.

No mitigation

Do not downplay the severity of the car accident. You need, at least, a police report, but if the dispatcher does not believe you really need help, they may refuse to dispatch or the police may refuse to come out. This is an unfortunate result of higher-than-average use of emergency services right now.

Keep it simple

However, you also need to be mindful that you just experienced a traumatic event, so trying to be too descriptive now, when you may have a head injury, may hurt you later. As such, keep the description of the Fargo, North Dakota, car crash as simple as possible.