Do You Need to Call 911 After a Car Accident?

While you are not required to call 911 after every car accident in Massachusetts, we recommend you do, especially if you are hurt. Calling 911 after an accident can be a significant factor in successfully pursuing compensation after a car accident. So, when in doubt, call 911 and report the accident. It is one of our three most recommended things to do after a car accident.   Here’s why.

We have run into numerous cases where a client was involved in a car accident in Massachusetts with someone else, they get out of their cars and exchange information, and then drive off and report the accident to their insurance company later.  In one particular case the client felt a bit of pain at the accident scene, but experienced more pain a little while after the accident and sought medical attention. Turns out she had suffered a severe neck injury and incurred numerous medical bills and expenses.  She hired us when her insurance claim was denied.

Our client tells us that she was parked on the side of the street and that the other driver negligently struck her on the driver side of her vehicle.  Well, the other driver told his insurance company that our client was pulling out of the parking spot and struck him.  Of course, that’s all the other guy’s insurance company needed to deny the claim.  We then needed to file a lawsuit because there was a dispute as to who was responsible for the accident.

Had our client called 911 the police would have responded to the scene, talked to the other guy and any witnesses, and issued a Motor Vehicle Crash Report documenting how the accident happened.  This could have established the other guy’s negligence and possibly prevented him from fabricating his story and blame our client for the accident.

According to 911.gov “If you’re not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, officials recommend calling 911 and letting the call-taker determine whether you need emergency help.”.

Also, you should be aware that Massachusetts General Law c. 90 § 26 requires that every driver of a motor vehicle which is involved in an accident in which any person is killed, or injured or in which there is damage in excess of $1,000.00 must file an accident report within five (5) days of the accident.  So if you didn't call 911, at the very least, you should file an accident report. The report documents how the accident happened and is very useful when how the accident occurred is disputed. 

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