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By Jordan W. Charness

So there I was in Toronto, enjoying eating and dancing and meeting up with old friends and family. While dancing, I thought I felt my cell phone vibrate. It may have been ringing as well, but it’s hard to hear the Batman theme ring-tone over the sounds of a nine-piece orchestra. Anyhow, I was at a wedding so I ignored it.

A few minutes later it vibrated again so I reluctantly took a look at the call display. It was a number that I recognized only too well. By the time I found a quiet place to pick up the call it had switched over to voicemail. I check my messages to hear Peter’s frantic voice:

“Jordan., Call me quick. Please.”

Since Peter sounded somewhat panicked I called him – and got his voicemail. Back to the wedding I went.

It took only a few minutes for Peter to call back. Peter had just been in a collision. While he had the right of way, a car coming in the opposite direction turned left, cutting him off. He had no time to stop and just barely managed to steer away from the cars doors, clipping the right rear quarter panel of the other car.

His front end was smashed and the other car was not in very good shape either. As far as injuries were concerned, Peter was afraid that he may have fractured his leg. The other driver was cut and bleeding.

“Peter, why are you calling me,” I wanted to know?

“Because you know I have had quite a few accidents recently and I wanted to find out what to do to make sure that I would not be blamed for this one!” was his immediate reply. “You were the first call I made.”

“Peter. Did you call an ambulance? Did you call the police?” I shouted.

“Uh, no, not yet.”

You’d be surprised at how many people have called me in similar situations. I’ve been called by a man who had just been bitten by a dog; while he was still bleeding, he decided to call his lawyer for legal advice. I’ve been called by someone who had a friend over for a barbecue and tripped and fell through a glass table. He too wanted to know what his legal rights were.

In all these cases the steps are very clear. If someone is hurt, call an ambulance. If someone is committing a crime, call the police. And if you are in an automobile collision and someone is hurt, call an ambulance and call the police or an emergency help line like 911.

Once you get a spare moment, document what happened and take pictures if appropriate. Write down what you recall and once everyone’s medical emergencies have been taken care of, including your own, you might consider calling your lawyer to find out what the legal implications are for what just happened.

While I am all in favour of calling a lawyer for advice, there is a time and a place for everything.

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