Feb 15, 2023 | CHASENBOSCOLO
While being in a car accident is always a bad experience, people sometimes question how seriously they should take a traffic collision. Some may want to downplay the situation because they prefer not to cause too much trouble. Others might be in a hurry and believe they do not have enough time to get the authorities involved. Whatever the situation, you should always call the police anytime you are involved in a car accident. Failing to do so can harm your case if you later choose to seek compensation.
What Kinds of Car Accidents Do I Need to Report?
Anytime you suffer injuries in a serious car accident, you should alert the police as soon as you can safely do so. If that is not possible, have another person call them for you. The responding police officer will document any injuries, interview the drivers involved, and survey the scene to create a police report.
Even if the car accident is minor, you should still alert local law enforcement. Police officers essentially serve as professional witnesses to a car accident scene. Insurance companies tend to accept the information within a police report, which may help you even if you do not immediately intend to file a claim.
Reasons to Call the Police
If you ever wonder whether you should call the police after an accident, here are a few reasons why it is always a good idea.
The Other Driver Might Not Cooperate
If the other driver is at fault for the collision, they might decide to deny responsibility when you file your claim with their insurance company. Without an official report, the claim will come down to your word against theirs. However, when a police officer arrives at the crash scene and files a report, your claim will have the backing of a trusted source of information.
You Might Have Suffered Hidden Injuries
Not all injuries are immediately apparent. The shock of an accident can cause adrenaline to rush through the body, masking any pain you might otherwise feel. Some injuries will not show symptoms for days, weeks, or months. If you drive away from the scene of an accident without informing the police, the insurance company can use that as evidence that your injury occurred in an unrelated incident. Or, they could try to downplay your injury. An official police report of the accident establishes that a crash occurred and provides information about the event’s circumstances.
The evidence will be even stronger if you seek immediate medical attention after the collision. A doctor’s examination may uncover hidden injuries far before their symptoms manifest.
Your Car Insurance May Require a Police Report
In some instances, such as hit-and-run accidents or crashes involving an uninsured driver, you may need to rely on your insurance to pay for your accident-related losses. Your policy may stipulate that a timely police report is required for your claim to be valid.
The Law May Require You to Report a Crash
In some instances, Maryland law may require you to report an accident. Such situations include when:
- The crash involves injury or death
- A driver involved in the crash is intoxicated
- A vehicle needs to be towed
- A driver is unable or unwilling to exchange information
- A driver does not have a valid license
- A driver flees the scene of the crash (hit-and-run accident)
Failure to alert law enforcement under these circumstances may result in legal consequences.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Maryland?
Drivers involved in any car crash resulting in injury or death must report an accident to law enforcement within 15 days of the collision. The two exceptions to this regulation are:
- If a police officer has responded to the crash and filed a report themselves, or
- If a driver’s injuries have rendered them physically incapable of filing the report
Yet although the law may not require you to call the police in some circumstances, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
In addition to alerting the police and seeking medical attention, consulting with a knowledgeable car accident attorney is a vital step after a crash. The seasoned lawyers at CHASENBOSCOLO are committed to protecting the rights of injured individuals in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. Call us today at (301) 220-0050 or contact us online for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help you.