In recent years, the number of dashboard cameras in vehicles has exploded. Indeed, there are entire websites devoted to sharing these videos. However, one aspect of car accident preparedness that often gets overlooked is how to handle the call with the 9-1-1 Operator.
Why preparedness is more important now than ever
In the past, when we called 9-1-1 in Sonoma or Napa County, we were guaranteed a first responder would arrive to our car accident, immediately. That is simply not the case anymore. Over the past two to three years, local budgets, including first-responder budgets have shrunk, while the need for those services has exploded. This has caused near collapses throughout the country, and the need to reduce the number of first-responder dispatches. This means that 9-1-1 Operators are looking for any reason to not dispatch a police officer or ambulance to car accident scenes. This is why preparing now can mean the difference between getting help or not.
The key to getting first responders
The first key is to not downplay the severity of the car accident. Do not describe the car accident as a minor fender bender. Do not say there are no injuries. Do not say first-responders are not needed. Ask for police and ambulance services specifically. If there are known injuries, let them know, but be sure to let them know you cannot tell the severity of the injuries of the other vehicle occupants. In fact, for those drivers in the car accident, the less information that is given, the better as one may misstate something that could hurt a later personal injury case.
Why first responders are so important
An ambulance is needed because, unless one is a doctor, we cannot tell the state of anyone’s condition. And, even if we are a doctor, unless we have medical equipment, it is probably not a good idea to make medical assumptions. Everyone involved in a car accident should be checked by a medical professional.
Though, even if everyone is okay, a Sonoma or Napa County police report is similarly essential. They can be used to determine liability, verify insurance information, get witness contact information, etc. Without a police report, car accidents can become both drivers’ word against the other. If this can be avoided, it should be avoided, which is why a police report can be essential.