Baltimore car accident lawyers

How to Get a Police Report for a Car Accident in Ellicott City

When you get in a car accident, your immediate concerns and needs, naturally, are likely going to be aimed at the extent of any injuries you may have sustained and the medical treatment needed to make sure that you recover. Further down the line, you may start to think about other things you need to do, like get your vehicle repaired, file an insurance claim, or pursue a car accident lawsuit. If you are seeking to sue someone for your injuries, in addition to a good attorney and a solid legal argument, you are going to need evidence to support your case. Evidence can come from a lot of different places, like eyewitness testimony or professional analysis of a situation by experts. You can also get evidence from a police report, either directly or by using the report as a springboard for future evidence gathering.

Of course, a police report is no help if you cannot get your hands on it. In Ellicott City, you can obtain a police report about your car accident by contacting the policing authority that responded to your accident. This could be the Maryland State Police (MSP) or the local police for your area.

If you were in a car accident and need help, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Ellicott City car accident attorneys at (410) 694-7291.

What Exactly is a Police Report, and How Do They Work?

A police report is a recollection of events as they appear to a police officer responding to a call. In the case of a car accident, the officer will take statements from drivers, eyewitnesses, and anyone else they feel they need a statement from.

In addition to talking to relevant parties, police officers will conduct a brief examination of the scene of the accident. The officer may record things like damage to the vehicles involved, skid marks from tires, and any other things they believe are of note about the accident.

Where to Obtain a Police Report for a Car Accident in Ellicott City

Of course, a police report is of no use if you can’t get your hands on it. While many people may be familiar with routinely talking to the police, they may not be fully aware of how you go about getting a police report. A police report can be an important asset to our Ellicott City personal injury lawyers when we examine all of the details of your case. Therefore, it is important to know how to go about obtaining a police report from the correct policing authority.

Maryland State Police

If the Maryland State Police responded to your accident, you can obtain your police report from their Central Records Division. There are a couple of ways that you can go about getting your report. First, you can go to the Maryland State Police Barrack that responded to your accident and get a copy of the report from them in person. Second, you can submit a request by mail using a form you can download online from the MSP website.

According to the Maryland State Police website, reports are available ten days after the accident takes place, so you should wait that long before trying to obtain the report.

Local Police

The Maryland State Police Central Records Division handles all Maryland State Troopers respond to. However, they do not respond to everything. Local police may also respond to an accident. However, you will still contact Maryland State Police for a local police report in many circumstances. That being said, some locations, like Baltimore, have their own dedicated database for reports. You can contact a local precinct either in person, by phone, or by mail, after a period of time for the report to get filed. This will depend on how each local police station operates, so make sure to check their time to get reports filed and when they are open and closed. Many reports are still funneled through the MSP no matter which department responds to the crash.

Ways a Police Report Can Be Used in an Ellicott City Car Accident Lawsuit

Police reports have a great deal of usefulness in a car accident lawsuit. The first use that probably comes to mind for a police report in a lawsuit is as evidence. However, the report is frequently not used in that role. In fact, there are other ways that a police report can be very useful for forming a strong base of facts in your car accident case.

In many states, police reports are generally not admissible as evidence in lawsuits. However, they are admissible in Maryland under Maryland Rule of Evidence 803(b)(8)(A). It should be noted, though, that only things in the report that an officer observed firsthand can be admissible. This is because things not observed directly by the officer will be considered “hearsay.” In law, hearsay is, in broad strokes, a statement made outside of court offered as evidence that something said in the statement is true. Courts prefer to get testimony live and in person where the defendant is under oath and can be challenged on cross examination rather than reports of things said outside of court.

However, just because the police report is not admitted as evidence does not mean that it cannot be helpful to your lawsuit. There are a lot of different ways that our lawyers can utilize a police report. First, it can be used to help disprove witness testimony. For example, if a witness says something that is contradictory to what they themselves said in the police report, you can then use the police report to argue that the witness is being inconsistent or changed their story. Another use of police reports is to refresh someone’s memory. In that case, you can let them briefly read the police report so they can better remember what happened in an accident that probably took place many months or even years before trial.

Talk to Our Ellicott City Car Accident Attorneys Today

Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Maryland car accident attorneys offer free case reviews when you call us at the number (410) 694-7291.