The first minutes after an auto accident can be confusing and, if it’s a minor fender bender, you might be tempted to continue to your destination. However, it’s important to do the right things after the collision to preserve your legal claims.
Should you move your car to the side of the road?
Yes. If you are involved in an auto accident and there is minimal property damage, but no injuries and your car can be safely driven, then you should move the vehicle off the road as soon as possible.
Most drivers that are involved in an auto accident leave their cars in the roadway which contributes to traffic backups and additional collisions, according to “MOVE IT,” a vehicle collision policy developed by the state of Maryland. About 30% of all accidents are secondary accidents. Secondary accidents are collisions that happen because of another “downstream” accident.
Should the police be called?
Maybe. A police report is not required after all car accidents in Maryland.
The police should not always be called after a motor vehicle collision, according to a “MOVE IT” fact sheet. If the vehicles are drivable and there are no injuries, then there is no need to call the police or file a report.
However, the police should be called if:
- Someone has been injured; or
- A vehicle cannot be safely moved; or
- A driver does not have a license; or
- A driver tries to leave the scene without providing the required information; or
- Public property has been damage.
What should you say or not say right after the accident?
Don’t blame the other driver or admit that the collision was your fault. An admission of liability will be used against you. Let the police, the insurance companies, and your Ocean City car accident lawyer work out the details of the accident.
What information should be gathered at the scene of the Maryland auto accident?
Maryland state law requires that drivers of vehicles involved in a car accident provide their:
- license number,
- name and address of the vehicle’s owner,
- insurance company name and policy number; and
- name and address of the local insurance agent.
Take pictures of the scene of the accident with your cellphone. Take pictures of any property damage and visible injuries.
If there are witnesses, ask for their names and contact information.
Should you seek medical attention?
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, seek immediate medical attention. Visit your doctor or go to the emergency room. Insurance companies believe that if you delay getting medical treatment, then you probably weren’t injured and will fight reimbursement of medical treatment.
Also, to get reimbursement as soon as possible, you can file a no-fault PIP claim against your insurance policy for your medical bills and lost wages.
Keep records of injuries and medical expenses and medical treatment, time missed from work for medical appoints.
Call your insurance company
You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible. It’s part of your insurance contract that they be contacted immediately after an auto collision.
Keep a journal of accident details
It’s a good idea to keep a notebook or computer file where you jot down information related to the accident such as the date and time of the accident; the location of the accident including details such as whether it happened at an intersection; the weather; whether there were skid marks; a description of the road conditions; information on medical treatment and expenses, etc.
Don’t speak to the other insurance company
If the adjuster for the other driver contacts you, don’t talk to them and don’t sign anything until you have spoken to an Ocean City car accident lawyer. Get the adjuster’s contact information and then tell them that you have an Ocean City auto accident lawyer.
Don’t provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies ask questions in a way meant to “pin the blame” for the Ocean City motor vehicle collision on you.
The Maryland State Police Department has provided a form that can be used as a checklist for gathering auto accident information. They suggest that you keep the form in the glove compartment of your car.
Maronick Law, LLC is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh auto accident needs. If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, you should talk to a car accident attorney. An Ocean City auto accident lawyer can make sure that you are fully compensated for the losses stemming from your motor vehicle accident.
If you have access to Zoom, we can meet with you remotely. The consultation is free. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.881.4022 or via the website.