If you are involved in a car accident, there are several steps you should take. One is to gather as much information regarding the circumstances surrounding the crash as possible. You should get the other driver’s license and insurance information and the contact information from any witnesses. Additionally, you should take notes of what occurred and photograph the accident scene. One of the most vital pieces of information available is the official accident report.
The police accident report will include crucial information regarding the crash that our Baltimore car accident attorneys will use, whether negotiating with an insurer or filing a personal injury lawsuit. the report will include basic facts about the accident, including who was involved, insurance information, witness statements, and other relevant information. If a responding officer issued a citation after the accident, it could be a valuable piece of evidence in establishing liability.
You can obtain a copy of an accident report directly from the Baltimore County Police Department. If you have any questions about what steps you should take after a car accident, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Our dedicated Maryland car accident attorneys have been representing car accident victims for decades. Call our law offices at (410) 694-7291.
Obtaining a Baltimore Office Car Accident Report
It typically takes about 10 business days from the date of the incident for car accident police reports to become available for request in Baltimore. To obtain a copy of your accident report, you should contact the Baltimore County Police Department. To request a report, you need to download a copy of the official Police Request Form. After completing this form, mail to:
Baltimore County Police Department
Information and Records Management Unit
700 East Joppa Road
Townson, Maryland 21286-5501
When you send the request, you must include the report number (if you know it), the date and location of the accident, the names of those involved in the crash, and your name. You also need to enclose a check or money order in the amount of $15, payable to Baltimore County, Maryland, for each report requested. Please do not send cash. This fee is nonrefundable. You also should include a self-addressed, stamped business-sized envelope.
It usually takes about two weeks for the Baltimore Police Department to process your report. If you have any further questions, you should call the department hotline at 410-887-2390 or speak to your Baltimore car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Requesting a Digital Copy of Your Car Accident Police Report in Baltimore
You do have the alternative option to request a digital copy of your report. the digital copy will be sent to your email at no additional charge. This is sufficient for you to find out about the specific contents of your police report. However, if you are planning to use your report for legal or insurance purposes, it is important that you have a paper copy as well.
To get an email copy of your police report, email your completed request form to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may alternatively email the department with the name of the driver, report number, and time and place of the accident in lieu of the formal request form. Expect to receive your copy of the Baltimore car accident police report in about two weeks.
When Will a Car Accident Police Report Be Filed in Baltimore?
Not every accident automatically requires a police officer to compile and submit a car accident report in Baltimore. the formula that officers must use to determine when crash reports should be filed depends on three variables: where the accident occurred, which parties were involved, and the level of damage done.
The reasons for filing outnumber the reasons for not filing. In any instance where a person involved in the accident is injured, a report must be written. Hit and runs will all be reported, but the content of the report varies depending on whether the fleeing driver was identified or apprehended. If any of the vehicles involved in the accident were government-operated, such as school buses, a report must be filed.
If the accident results in no personal injury, no government vehicle is involved, and the property damage is not “disabling,” there is no requirement for the officer to file the report. If the damage is disabling, police must file a report on the accident, regardless of whether the accident occurred on a public roadway or private property such as a parking lot. However, if the disabling damage is reported late, there is no filing requirement. This is why you should always call 911 and have a dispatcher send a police unit to the scene of the accident as soon as possible.
Can You File Your Own Accident Report?
If an officer does not arrive at the scene or otherwise does not file an official car accident report in your case, you have the ability to file one yourself. Under Maryland Transportation Code § 20-107, drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists who are injured in an accident may file their own Personal Accident Report. You must file the report with the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration within 15 days of the accident.
Your report should include as much personal information about yourself and others involved as possible, such as names, addresses, and contact information. You should also include your insurance carrier and policy number, as well as the name and address of the carrier’s local agent. You should additionally include as much information as possible that might have been included in a police accident report, such as a description of the accident, the area where it occurred, property damage, and the injuries sustained. If you struggle to obtain any of this information, your Baltimore car accident lawyer may be able to help.
While filing your own personal report is an option, an official police report is always the better option. Be sure to call 911 as soon as possible after your accident so that a police unit may be dispatched to your location and collect the vital information you will need to recover compensation for your injuries.
Information Included in a Baltimore Car Accident Report
The level of detail in a Baltimore accident report will typically depend on the severity of the accident and several other factors. For example, if someone was severely injured or killed in the crash, the police must conduct a full investigation. These details will be included in the report.
A report will include basic facts regarding the accident, such as weather conditions, witness statements, and any issued citations. For instance, if another driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash, it will be highlighted in the report.
If a crash only resulted in minor injuries and damage, the accident report will contain fewer details. However, you should still request a copy of the report, especially if a citation was issued. Even if one was not issued, there might be other valuable information that our Aberdeen car accident lawyers could use to help establish liability. it is important to remember that the police report does not determine fault. After an accident, an insurance company or the court will ultimately decide which party was legally responsible for the accident.
Baltimore Car Accident Reports and Insurance Claims
An insurance company might not request or require a police report. Nonetheless, you should still obtain one. When an insurance company investigates an accident, its goal is to limit its liability. By having a police report, you could start building a case to support your version of events. Our Bethesda car accident lawyers will want this information before negotiating with an insurance provider. Our office will most likely not advise accepting a settlement offer without thoroughly reviewing the facts surrounding your crash, including the official police report.
If the other driver received a citation, such as speeding or driving under the influence, it is crucial to get a police accident report. This information could be used to establish you were not at fault.
An insurance company representative may attempt to contact you after an accident. the representative may ask you to confirm their own version of events or ask you to supply additional information on the accident beyond what is contained in the police report. You are not obligated to answer their questions and may have your attorney communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. This is always a prudent strategy, since insurance representatives can use any statement you make to them about the accident to limit your potential recovery in a lawsuit.
Personal Injury Lawsuits and Baltimore Car Accident Reports
If the accident report indicates that the other driver’s conduct could have caused the accident, it could be valuable in a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are limits to its evidentiary power.
While an officer will complete an accident report after investigating the crash, they will arrive after the incident. Therefore, the information they can record includes what they saw in the accident’s aftermath and what other people have said. the responding police officer did not witness the accident itself. Therefore, parts of a police report could be challenged as hearsay.
In most cases, hearsay is not admissible evidence. However, there are a number of exceptions to this general rule. Our experienced Baltimore car accident lawyers will carefully review the available evidence and circumstances to determine if an exception is available.
Even though some information might not be admissible in court, the report still contains valuable information. For example, while the statements recorded by the police might not be admissible, our office could contact the witnesses themselves to gather their testimony directly. Additionally, the responding officer who drafted the report could be called as a witness to give evidence. Proving liability is challenging. A police report is just one of the important tools our Baltimore personal injury attorney has to help build your case.
Amending Errors in a Baltimore Car Accident Report
Police officers collect all of the information for their report at the scene of the accident and then compile it into their report at a later time. Because of this gap in time, certain critical details can be lost in the shuffle. the police officer may not remember events correctly or even get confused by their own handwriting.
The first thing that you and your lawyer should do upon receiving a copy of the official car accident report is to check it thoroughly for inconsistencies. Make sure that all of the relevant personal information, such as names, addresses, and license plate numbers are correct. You should also be sure that the make and model of the vehicles involved are listed correctly, as this can impact an insurance company’s evaluation of your losses. If the accident occurred during a weather event that may have impacted the crash, you should make sure that this information is included.
You cannot amend statements of other witnesses made in a police report. However, you should be aware that making a false statement to a police officer in connection with an official report is a crime under Sections 9-501 of Maryland code. People who are convicted of making false statements to police officers under Section 9-501 face fines up to $500 and even prison time.
Amendments to official police car accident reports should be made as soon as possible after they are identified. Our Dundalk car accident attorneys are familiar with the process and can walk you through it to ensure that your accident is correctly portrayed in the report. Talk to a lawyer today to discuss the process of amending a police report about your accident.
Contact Our Baltimore Car Accident Attorneys if You Need a Police Report
In the aftermath of a car accident, an injured victim might not know what to do. After taking care of their injuries, a victim should request a copy of the official accident report and then contact our experienced Annapolis car accident lawyers. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 to understand your options and rights.