Will 911 Be Able To Find You After an Auto Accident? | The Jeffcoat Firm

Will 911 Be Able To Find You After an Auto Accident?

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Everyone knows that calling 911 is the first thing you should do after incurring serious injuries in an traffic accident in South Carolina or anywhere. But what if the 911 operator who takes your call can’t locate you? After an accident it is vital to do everything you can to receive medical support for yourself and others and to take all of the significant steps to diminish the injuries, damages, and potential fatalities that can occur. Yet, in many cases, people find that their 911 call is more compicated than they expected.

It Can Be Challenging for 911 Operators to Locate Your Cell Phone

Many mistakenly think that their cell phones or smart phones can always be easily detected. The scene of the accident can be determined by triangulating the location of the cell phone call with GPS data. Yet, what you might be unaware of is that your call information is routed through the closest tower, making it difficult in determining your location fast enough. If the 911 operator can’t determine the scene of your accident, and you are not sure of your precise location or how to direct them to that location, then this can become a much scarier situation.

According to information on reports and documents at the local, state, and federal level, your position dictates how simple it is to find you through accessible location data. In some areas, you have a 95% chance of being detected. In other cases, you only have a 10% chance. One prime example of a hurdle to being located is that up until 2013, more than 50% of California cell phone calls to 911 did not transmit data regarding the location of the caller. In Texas, the rate was 2/3, and in one area in Virginia (Fairfax County), only 25% of calls included stable location data. This means that 75% of 911 callers experienced delays in emergency response. No matter where you may be, cell phones make it easier for you to reach 911 faster than ever; however, they make it more difficult for 911 to get to you if they can’t figure out where you are.

How Is Your Cell Phone Location Found Out?

Whenever you make an emergency phone call to 911, and your location data is not sent to the dispatcher immediately, then their computer will send a request for location data to your cell phone network. You can envision that this takes more time than calls that instantly transmit your position to the dispatcher. If you are able to voice your exact location, then this will be a lot quicker than waiting for the cell phone network to respond. It takes even longer in cases where the call was already routed through a cell phone tower in an alternate location.

What’s Being Done to Improve the Situation?

After recognizing and acknowledging the delays associated with determining your location through a 911 call made from a cell phone, new laws were issued by the FCC to cell phone carriers. The goal is to improve the accuracy of location data in 911 cell phone calls, and the associated plans will be executed in 2017. So, something is being done to enhance this situation, but it’s going to take time, which is exactly what you might not have after a South Carolina auto accident.

Local public safety agencies are working on establishing various new ways of ensuring that emergency responders are able to locate and reach you faster after an accident. One example is to ask the caller for landmarks if they don’t know precisely where they are – which many people don’t after an auto accident. If you see certain structures or signs, then relaying this information can help the 911 dispatcher to find your actual location.

What To Do After a South Carolina Auto Accident

The most important thing that you can do after a South Carolina auto accident is to remain as calm as possible and call 911. This is still your best option to receive emergency assistance. By staying calm, you can better judge your situation, explain it to the 911 dispatcher, and offer landmarks to assist them in determining precisely where you are. Then, contact the dedicated South Carolina personal injury attorneys at The Jeffcoat Firm at your earliest convenience to find out how we can help you to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.

Michael Jeffcoat


“When I went to law school, I didn’t know at first that I wanted to be a lawyer for injured people, but the more I saw and learned in the early years of practicing law about what big corporations and insurance companies do and how they behave, the more it became clear to me that I needed to be a plaintiff’s lawyer,” he recalls.

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