I’ve been in a car accident. Should I call the police or 911?

Being involved in a car accident can be an intense and overwhelming experience, regardless of whether there are serious injuries. Sometimes one party wants to contact the police and the other does not. Should you call 911 or the local police? Do you know who to call in this situation? Here’s how to decide.


  • Anyone is injured in either vehicle (do NOT try to move anyone who is injured), OR
  • Damage to the vehicles appears to be more than $1000, OR
  • Any of the drivers appear to be impaired by drugs or alcohol,

Call 911.


  • No one is injured, AND
  • Damage to all the vehicles appears to be less than $1000,

Call your local police. They may send an officer to the scene, or instruct you to go to a police station or a Collision Reporting Centre.

Some other tips:

  • Try to remain as calm as possible
  • Don’t accept or accuse anyone of being to blame for the accident
  • Take photos of the accident scene before any of the vehicles are moved (but avoid sharing the photos or details of your accident on social media)
  • If you’ve been seriously injured, consult a lawyer as soon as possible

The Financial Services Commission has a helpful accident worksheet that you can print out and keep in your glove box with a pen. If you are not thinking clearly, it will ensure that you record all the vital pieces of information you will need.

2 Responses to “I’ve been in a car accident. Should I call the police or 911?”

May 24, 2018 at 9:31 am, Winter is Over-Now It's Car Crash Season - Van Dyke Law said:

[…] you know what to do in the event of a car accident? Check out our previous post on how to decide whether to call the police or 911 – it also includes other helpful dos and don’ts that may not come to mind in the […]

July 11, 2018 at 9:32 am, Preventing and Handling Wildlife Collisions - Van Dyke Law said:

[…] As with any accident, determine whether anyone in the car is hurt, and call 911 if there are any injuries. […]