If you were involved in a car accident in the state of Maryland, one of the most valuable resources available to you is a copy of your official Maryland accident report. This document contains all of the specific details surrounding your accident and can be very helpful to you throughout the claims process.
Many attorneys and insurance adjusters will use your report to establish fault and determine causation for the accident when they decide what kind of settlement you are owed, so it’s important for you to recover a copy of your report as soon as you’re able.
It’s always a good idea to call a law enforcement officer to the scene of the crash so that they can file an official report, but in some cases, it’s required by Maryland law. According to MD Transportation Code § 20-107, MD Transportation Code § 20-104, and MD Transportation Code § 20-106, you are legally required to report any accident which:
● Results in the death or injury of anyone involved
● Involved a drunk driver
● Injures or kills a domestic animal
● Results in the damage of a vehicle whose owner cannot be located
● Results in a circumstance where a driver refuses or is unable to exchange information
● Is considered a hit and run accident
● Results in a circumstance in which a vehicle cannot be safely moved
If you’re able, you should always call a law enforcement officer to the scene of the crash, as they will be able to file a report which contains the clearest and least biased account of the events of the accident.
If you were unable to call an officer to the scene, you can file a report yourself, but it may not hold as much weight with your attorney or insurance provider as a report filed by a law enforcement officer.
If you should decide to claim insurance benefits and file a claim with your insurance provider, your insurance adjuster will likely request a copy of your report. They will use the information in the document to determine causation and establish fault as they decide what kind of settlement to give you.
Without a copy of your report, your adjuster will have more trouble determining the events of the accident, and may not be able to provide you with as big of a settlement as you were expecting. In some cases, failing to provide a report can even result in a higher monthly rate.