Jill Kolodner | May 12, 2021 | Car Accidents
Law enforcement officers complete a report when they respond to a motor vehicle accident. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Accident Report is the official report used by police officers to record the details of a car accident. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, including a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident, you should obtain a copy of your Maryland car accident report for your records.
Who Can Obtain a Car Accident Report in Maryland?
Parties involved in a car accident and their lawyers can obtain copies of car accident reports. However, the reports are also available to the general public under the Maryland Public Information Act.
The Act sets forth a specific procedure for requesting copies of police reports, including car accident reports. The public must follow these regulations to obtain a copy of a car accident report.
How Can You Get a Copy of Your Car Accident Report in Maryland?
The Central Records Division of the Maryland State Police is the central repository for motor vehicle accidents. There are three ways you can obtain a copy of your car accident report.
In-Person at an MSP Barrack
Ten days after the accident, you can request a copy of the completed report at the MSP Barrack that responded to the car crash. You need a check or money order for $4, payable to the Maryland State Police. It is best to contact the barrack to ensure the report is ready before making the trip.
You can download the form to request a Motor Vehicle Accident Report and send it with a check or money order for $4 to the address on the form.
In-Person from the Central Records Division
You may also request a copy of the accident report in person at the Central Records Division during regular business hours. You must have the $4 fee and complete the request form. Completing the request form online and emailing it to the Central Records Division in advance can expedite your request.
The Central Records Division is located in Baltimore at 1711 Belmont Avenue.
Requesting Copies of Car Accident Reports from City and County Offices
If a city or county police department responded to the accident scene, you can request a copy of the police report directly from that agency. Each police department sets the fees and policies for obtaining copies of car accident reports.
Car accident reports for some agencies may be available for purchase from BuyCrash from LexisNexis. You can check on the website or call your local police department.
Obtaining a Copy of a Car Accident Report in Baltimore, Maryland
Vehicle accident reports from the Baltimore Police Department are available on the LexisNexis BuyCrash website. Individuals may also request copies of police reports directly from the Baltimore Police Department.
If the Baltimore County Police Department investigated the accident, you can download a copy of the Police Report Request Form from the website and mail it to the Records Management Unit. There is a $15 fee for each report. You also need to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with the request.
Why Do I Need a Copy of My Car Accident Report?
The car accident report provides detailed information about the individuals involved in the accident, their vehicles, and other information that can be useful when filing an insurance claim. If you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your car accident claim, your lawyer will obtain a copy of the accident report.
The accident report may contain information showing the other driver was at fault for the crash.
For example, the report might include the names and contact information for witnesses. It may also show a diagram of the crash scene, including locations and lengths of skid marks. The police officer may have noted comments made by the other driver that indicate the driver was admitting fault for the collision.
Your lawyer uses the information in the car accident report as he investigates the cause of your car crash. Proving that the other driver caused the wreck is crucial. You cannot recover compensation for your injuries and damages unless you can prove that the other driver caused the accident.
What Should I Do After a Maryland Car Accident?
Always call the police to report the accident. Do not discuss the accident with anyone at the scene except the police officers. If possible, make a video or take pictures of the accident scene with your cell phone.
See a doctor as soon as possible to document your injuries. Prompt medical care protects your health and improves your chances of recovering damages in a car accident case.
Seeking legal advice before discussing the accident with an insurance company is generally in your best interest. It is helpful to understand your legal rights before dealing with an insurance representative or claims adjuster.