If you were involved in a car accident where the police were called to the scene, you likely observed the officer gathering information and taking notes. the officer may seek contact and insurance information or ask questions of the drivers and witnesses to the accident. But what does the officer do with these notes? and who can access them?
The notes go into an official motor vehicle accident police report. Accident reports are matters of public record, so they are accessible by any requesting member of the public for a small fee. However, the request process is complex and depends on the jurisdiction that you are in. Obtaining the official police report on your accident can be pivotal in your search for recovery, so talk to your lawyer as soon as possible to determine what your next steps should be.
The dedicated Maryland car accident attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras should be your first stop with any questions about obtaining or amending your official police report on your car accident. We will not charge you for your first appointment to get answers and determine the best path forward. Call today to hear more at (410) 694-7291.
Who Can Get a Car Accident Police Report in Maryland?
In 1970, Maryland legislators enacted the Public Information Act (PIA), which provides the general public with rights to access certain information that is documented and filed by the government and her agents. Under the PIA, car accident reports in Maryland are matters of public record. Anyone who completes the proper request procedure for a report will receive it.
How Do You Request a Copy of a Car Accident Police Report in Maryland?
The PIA does not come without limits. Individuals interested in obtaining a copy of a police report for a car accident in Maryland must meet certain conditions laid out in the Maryland Code.
Accident reports will typically not be available until 10 days after the accident itself. If a request is made too early that doesn’t provide enough time for the report to be filed, the request may be rejected.
There are three ways to request a copy of a car accident report filed by a Maryland state officer. You may visit the Maryland State Police (MSP) at the specific Barrack was responsible for responding to the scene of the accident. You can also go directly to the Central Records Division, located at 1711 Belmont Avenue in Baltimore. If you plan to go in person, you should give the location a call beforehand so that you know that they are operating and expecting you.
If you do not want to go in person, you can download the official request form and mail it to the Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MDTA). the proper addressing for your envelope is below:
Maryland Transportation Authority Police
Attn: Central Records Unit
4330 Broening Highway
Baltimore, MD 21222
You should include a check or money order for $4, made out to the MDTA or the Maryland Transportation Authority, in your mailed request. You will also need the $4 check or money order if you plan to go in person.
Requesting Accident Reports Filed by Police in Maryland
If a city or county police department responded to the scene of your accident, you may be able to request a copy of the police report directly from that department. However, the fees and processes for requesting a copy of a city or county police accident report may differ, so bring any questions to your Maryland car accident lawyer before setting off down this path.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Police Report for a Car Accident in Maryland?
You should always call 911 and request a police report if you are involved in an accident in Maryland. Police officers at the scene of accident are responsible for collecting vital information that can aid you in your recovery down the line. This vital information should include all of the following:
- Names and contact information for all drivers, victims, and witnesses involved
- Driver’s license information for all parties
- License plate numbers
- Insurance policy numbers
- Description and visual depiction of the accident
- Description of the resulting damages
- Witness statements
- Associated traffic violations
- Description of weather and visibility conditions
Your Rockville car accident attorney can use this information to assess how the accident occurred and who was at fault for causing it. If the other driver was responsible for negligently or recklessly causing your injuries, you can seek damages in a lawsuit. Even if you cannot demonstrate fault for the purposes of a lawsuit, you will still likely need your police report in order to file an effective insurance claim.
Even though the police officer is responsible for gathering this information, that does not mean that you shouldn’t make your own efforts to obtain information. If you discover that your police report is flawed or incomplete when you obtain it, you will want your own evidence so that you can have the report amended. There is a process to amend police reports, but you must do so swiftly, so always have your Maryland car accident attorney review your police report thoroughly once you receive your copy.
Questions About Police Reports for Accidents in Maryland? Rice, Murtha & Psoras Can Help
No matter your situation, you stand to benefit from the competent advice of the experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Schedule your free first session with us by calling (410) 694-7291 today.