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What do I say to 911 after a car accident?

Talking with 9-1-1 means that something bad has happened because the only times we should be on the line with them is after or during an emergency, like a car accident. However, for witnesses and car accident victims, there are some differences.

For witnesses

Stay calm, breathe and speak clearly. Being a witness can be stressful, but doing the right thing and calling 9-1-1 is its own reward. After all, we all want witnesses to call 9-1-1 when we are in a car accident. Be sure to give the location with as much detail as possible, preferably an address, and do not forget one’s own identifying and contact information. Stay on the phone with the dispatcher until they say it is safe to disconnect the call.

For those in the car accident

For those in the car accident, there is some overlap. Again, breathe, stay calm and speak clearly. To the best of one’s ability, give the location, but be sure to specify what is needed. For example:

We were just in a car accident at the corner of Atlantic and 4th Avenues in New York, New York. We need an ambulance and police because we think there might be injuries.

Then, after making sure the 9-1-1 Dispatcher knows who to send, where and why, it is usually, a good idea to disconnect.

Why the difference

For those involved in a car accident, giving too much information, apologizing or saying something wrong could hurt one’s later personal injury lawsuit. While it may not be fair, one’s words can and will be used against them, even if they may have a head injury. For a witness though, their primary goal is to make sure the dispatcher has their account on the record, along with their contact information. This can help car accident victims get help immediately, and later, get justice from New York, New York, negligent drivers.

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