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Car Accident Baltimore

Maryland Law and Reporting Car Accidents

Drivers involved in car accidents are prone to making mistakes. Failing to report the accident is one particular mistake drivers tend to make.

You can understand why reporting an accident may not be the first thing a victim thinks of in the chaotic aftermath of their predicament. At the moment, they may prioritize more urgent matters and lose track of what is happening. Other car accident victims may also be in no shape to report what happened.

Still, reporting your car accident is not something you can neglect. Learn more about Maryland laws regarding reporting car accidents and other relevant topics by continuing below.

Does Maryland Law Require Reporting Car Accidents?

Not all car accidents in Maryland require police involvement. If the accident only causes minor damage to the vehicles involved, you and the other party can sort that matter out without police assistance.

Reporting becomes a necessity when certain conditions are met. Let’s go over those conditions in this section of the article.

The Accident Results in Death or Bodily Injury

First, motorists involved in an auto accident that caused death or bodily injury must contact the police. According to Maryland law, the drivers involved must report what happened within 15 days of the date the accident occurred.

The report you file must include your insurance information. You must also supply any additional details requested by the authorities.

Partner with a lawyer to ensure you can submit a detailed report on time.

The Other Driver Is Unable or Refuses to Exchange Information

All parties involved in a car accident are required to exchange their names, addresses, license numbers, and insurance information. They are required to do that regardless of how bad the accident is.

You should get the police involved if the other driver in your predicament refuses to exchange information. Requesting police assistance is also recommended if the other driver cannot physically provide the information you need.

The Other Driver Is Intoxicated

Unsurprisingly, drunk driving carries heavy penalties in Maryland. Let the authorities know right away if the other driver involved in your accident is intoxicated. Make sure they are duly penalized for their poor driving decisions.

The Other Driver Has No License

You must also report your auto accident to the police if the other driver involved has no driver’s license. The fact the other driver has no license is something you will likely discover when you approach them to exchange information.

The Accident Renders the Vehicles Immobile

The accident’s impact may be so powerful that it renders one or more vehicles immobile. In that scenario, you must reach out to the police. Report the accident and request their help to remove the vehicles from the road.

The Accident Causes Damage to Public Property

Drivers involved in an accident must also contact the police if the crash damages public property. Place that call regardless of how bad the damage is.

The Accident Causes Injury to a Domestic Animal

Lastly, the drivers involved in the accident must call the police if a domestic animal is injured during the crash. The police will then notify an organization or agency that can care for the injured animal.

Why You Should Contact the Police After an Accident

Due to unpleasant run-ins with the police in the past, you may be hesitant to request their presence at the scene of your accident. Even if your hesitation is understandable, calling the police remains highly recommended if your accident meets the criteria detailed in the previous section.

The services police officers provide can be critical in car accident cases. Learn about the different ways they can help by continuing with this section.

Police Officers and Other Responders Can Render Emergency Services

Someone may end up badly hurt in the aftermath of your car accident. In some cases, the people involved in an accident may be trapped in their vehicles. You need police at the scene to address those emergencies.

The police officers can coordinate with emergency responders to provide urgent medical care to the victims of an accident. They can also provide valuable assistance if some of the victims are trapped.

Police Officers Can Prevent Entry into the Scene of the Accident

When police officers arrive at the scene of an accident, one of the first things they typically do is cord off the area, which benefits accident victims in a few ways. 

First, the barrier set by the police ensures that none of the people involved in the accident will be injured or injured further. You do not need to rush off the street because there is a motorist oblivious to what happened.

Allowing the police to secure the perimeter of the accident site also preserves whatever evidence is available. Because other motorists and bystanders will be barred from the accident site, you do not need to worry about any evidence being compromised.

Police Officers Can Order the Other Driver to Provide Their Information

Since Maryland law requires motorists involved in car accidents to share their contact details and insurance information, the other driver has no legal ground to stand on if they refuse to cooperate. Still, forcing them to provide their information could lead to a dangerous escalation. Call the police so they can order the other driver to cooperate while managing the situation.

Police Officers Can Investigate the Accident

Car accidents can quickly turn into disputed liability cases, with both sides refusing to accept blame for what happened. Police assistance is crucial in that situation because they can conduct an unbiased investigation of the accident.

They can note vehicle damage, take pictures of the accident site, and record witness statements to piece together the events leading to the crash. Once they accurately read the accident, they can determine who deserves to be blamed. 

Police Officers Can Provide a Police Report

Due to their refusal to accept responsibility in the face of overwhelming evidence, you may be left with no choice but to file a lawsuit against the other driver. Do not forget to secure the police report before you proceed with any lawsuit.

We will get into the importance of the police report later in this article.

When Do I Contact My Insurance Company?

We have detailed the different situations wherein drivers involved in car accidents must call the police. At this point, you may be wondering if your insurer also needs to know about the accident.

Yes, you do need to share the accident details with your insurer. During this conversation, you want to limit what you say. Mention only the confirmed facts of the accident and do not say anything that could be construed as accepting blame for what happened.

Get some advice from your lawyer before speaking to your insurer to avoid making potentially critical mistakes.

You should also report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible. Reporting the same day or night the accident occurred is probably not necessary, but you should still take care of it as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

Why is reporting your accident to your insurer so important? The reasons below help explain its importance.

You Are Legally Obligated to Notify Your Insurer about the Accident

Do you still remember the parts of your policy that detail your reporting requirements? Although not all insurance companies set hard deadlines for accident reporting, they may still require their clients to report incidents as soon as possible. For a minor accident, an insurer may expect a report within 24 hours of when the crash occurred. They may give you more time if the accident leads to you sustaining significant injuries.

Failing to meet the reporting requirements detailed in your insurance policy can be a big deal. When the time comes for you to file a claim, your insurer may deny it based on your tardy report. You may have to fight tooth and nail to receive coverage because you waited too long to call your insurer.

You Can Secure Financial Compensation Faster

Disputed car accident cases can take a long time to resolve. Negotiations between you and the other party may drag out for months. You may even need to take the other driver to court if they are especially stubborn about their role in the case.

Dragging out the case is probably not something you want to do, but it is preferable to accepting a bad deal. Of course, you may not be able to wait that long for compensation if your medical and car repair bills are piling up.

Calling your insurer and requesting your property damage coverage can relieve that difficult situation. After securing a payout from your insurance provider, you can let your injury case play out as long as needed until the other party finally provides the compensation you deserve.

You Need Coverage Because the Other Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured

During your post-accident conversation with the other driver, they may reveal that they have no insurance. They may promise to pay you out of pocket, but trusting their word is difficult because they are on the road without insurance.

You will probably need to file a lawsuit to receive compensation from the other driver. In the meantime, you should file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurer. If the other driver leaves the scene before you have a chance to interact with them, filing an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance provider is also a viable option.

While speaking to the other party’s insurance company, you may discover that their policy cannot cover your accident-related expenses. If that is the case, you should use your underinsured coverage to secure additional compensation.

Am I Required to Speak with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Provider?

Insurance is a business, and the companies involved in that industry will always do what they can to protect their bottom lines. If one of their clients is involved in an accident, an insurer will deploy different tactics to avoid a hefty payout. Part of those efforts will likely include reaching out to you, the accident victim.

The other party’s insurer may contact you to establish the facts of the case. That sounds good in theory, but it would be naïve to think they are not working in their best interests.

During the conversation, the insurer or their representative may steer the conversation in such a way that casts blame on you. They may put forth hints suggesting that you should accept some blame for the accident. Because Maryland is a contributory negligence state, accepting even some responsibility could have disastrous ramifications for your case. Your admission could be the reason why your lawsuit goes nowhere.

There is no need to entertain the insurer’s request for a conversation. If they come calling, simply give them your lawyer’s name and contact details. Tell them your lawyer will address all their questions moving forward.

Police Report vs. Police Exchange Form

Following your car accident, two key documents will play a pivotal role in supporting your claim: the information exchange form and the police report.

The information exchange form is a document that you and the other driver should fill out to exchange relevant details. This form, which can be accessed online, is a valuable resource to keep in your vehicle’s glove compartment. It provides a structured way to record crucial details about the accident such as the location, contact information of the drivers, insurance details, vehicle specifics, and any witness information.

In addition, Maryland State Troopers issue a digital motor vehicle collision information exchange form at the accident scene. This document typically includes comprehensive information about both drivers including names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, vehicle details, and insurance company information.

Conversely, the police report provides an in-depth record of the accident, detailing the available evidence and the investigating officers’ interpretation of events. This report is critical if you intend to take legal action against the other driver.

Should the accident happen in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, or Carroll County, you can retrieve your police report through For accidents in other counties, visit the respective county’s website, where there’s usually a form to request the police report. However, don’t worry about this step – your car accident lawyer will handle it for you.

Baltimore Car Accident Attorney

Attorney John Leppler is a seasoned car accident lawyer who has helped numerous Baltimore residents claim fair compensation in their claims. John is never too busy to respond to clients, so feel free to request his services whenever the need arises. Contact us at Leppler Injury Law today and let John handle the crash report and any other matters relevant to your car accident case.