When to Call 911 Following a San Antonio Crash

Recently, I heard a San Antonio Police Officer discuss with a crowd of when 911 should be used. One of the examples he used was following a car wreck especially if there are injuries, public safety hazard, a fire, or anything that may be an emergency situation.


Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.


Justin Hill: Our law firm gets phone calls from people that have been in accidents, car crashes, on-the-job injuries at any number of times in the process. Sometimes, we get a call while people are still at the scene. Sometimes we get a call a week before somebody statute of limitations is fixing to expire. One of the more common questions we get when people are calling us from the scene is, “Should I call 911?” That’s a very specific question that really we, from afar, on the telephone, can’t make a judgment for.

911 is an emergency phone system, and in San Antonio, luckily, I’ve seen some literature whereby guidance is provided on when to use the 911 phone number as opposed to the non-emergency line. Now, in a car crash, oftentimes people do call 911 because there are issues of public safety, there’s an emergency situation, there’s injuries, but sometimes it is not an emergency situation.

The information I’m going to provide now, that has been provided to me by an officer once that I just jotted down on some notes, is no specific rules or regulations and it’s not an exhaustive list. What I was told one time whenever we were talking about that question was, he said that he always tells people that if there’s anything involving a fire, that if there’s a car fire, a fire following an accident, an explosion, always call 911 about a fire.

Anytime there’s a medical emergency or people think there is a medical emergency, the people should call 911 as that’s what 911 is for, it’s an emergency hotline. He told me that if you think you’ve witnessed a crime or a crime is being committed, that that too is an emergency and you should call 911. Finally, the last thing we talked about for a while was he was talking about a car crash, that in the instance of a car crash, he says you should call 911 if there’s even a chance that somebody’s hurt.

Maybe they’re not all obviously hurt, maybe they just feel dizzy, but if there’s a chance that somebody is hurt, you should call 911, or if the crash creates a situation that could lead to more injuries or more accidents such as blocking lanes of travel, or rolled over vehicle, a vehicle that was about to catch fire. We can’t give an exhaustive list to our clients, especially when they call us on the telephone at the scene of a crash on when to dial 911, but we will relay the information that has been relayed to us.


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