Finding out if someone has been in an accident can be as simple as making a phone call if you're trying to find out if they are injured and need your help, or it can be a complicated process that requires extensive effort if you're trying to find out if there was a motor vehicle accident that they aren't telling you about. Insurance companies and employers usually have established contacts at their service, but when it hits close to home, taking certain actions to find out for sure can ease your mind.
A Recent Accident with Injuries
If you think a family member or friend has been in a recent accident and is currently receiving medical treatment, contact local hospitals in the area where you think he was driving. Due to federal regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, the hospital cannot release detailed information, but it can at least tell you whether the person is a patient there.
Some hospitals also will give you a general description of the patient's condition, as in stable, serious or critical. If are dealing with a hospital that has a policy of giving out no information at all, call and ask for the person's room number. This is a roundabout way of finding out if the person is a patient.
Read More: What Is an Accident Report Form?
Police departments often contact friends or family members if they are called to the scene of an accident and the victim cannot make contact on their own. Calling dispatch to check if someone has been in an accident might not work well for recent events, because a report may not have been filed yet.
If you think someone is missing because he has been in an accident, file a missing person's report with the local police. In this situation, professionals will help you find out if the person has been involved in an accident and you should be alerted as soon as an accident report is filed.
Do an Online Search
If you are trying to find out if there has been an accident that someone hasn't told you about, try an online search. Some newspapers have searchable online databases where you can look for both recent and archived articles based on a person's name. This works if you want to search a particular area, but with the availability of sophisticated search engines, it can much easier simply to search the entire Internet. Using Google as an example, type in the person's name enclosed in quotation marks, as in "Jane Doe," to reduce the irrelevant results. This narrows the results considerably, omitting the millions of other "Janes" and "Does" and various other unrelated entries that will otherwise fill the list. Any recent news articles that include the person's name should show up in the results.
Vicki A Benge began writing professionally in 1984 as a newspaper reporter. A small-business owner since 1999, Benge has worked as a licensed insurance agent and has more than 20 years experience in income tax preparation for businesses and individuals. Her business and finance articles can be found on the websites of "The Arizona Republic," "Houston Chronicle," The Motley Fool, "San Francisco Chronicle," and Zacks, among others.