No. It’s easier to prove fault with a police report; however, it’s not always possible that a report was prepared. Maryland law does not require that every accident be reported to the police. In fact, Maryland officials recommend that the police only be called for major accidents.
The police should not always be called after a motor vehicle collision, according to “Move It,” a collaboration of Maryland’s traffic and police agencies including the Maryland State Police Department and the Maryland State Highway Administration. Move It has noted that more than 2/3 of the 100,000 car accidents in Maryland in 2004 involved only property damage, with no injuries.
When involved in a collision, many drivers leave their vehicles in the roadway and wait for police, significantly contributing to congestion and often causing secondary crashes. They recommend that for safety reasons, if you are involved in a property-damage collision and the vehicle can be safely driven, the vehicles be moved off the road and that the legally required exchange of information with the other party involved in the Ocean City auto accident happen off the roadway.
In fact, they say, if the vehicles are drivable and there are no injuries, 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.
So, you aren’t breaking Maryland law if you fail to report a minor fender bender that has no bodily injuries.
However, not calling the police if you’ve been involved in a Baltimore car accident can be a tough decision to make because, in defending against a claim, the insurance company for the other side is likely to point out that the accident was so insignificant that the victim didn’t bother calling the police. Another reason for calling the police is that the other driver will most likely be more honest in explaining what happened because they are dealing with an authority figure.
Of course, you do have a responsibility via your contract with the insurance agency to report all accidents as soon as possible.
In instances where the damage to the vehicle is minor and there are no injuries, other evidence can be used to show fault. Fault can be determined based on the type of accident. For example, it is always assumed in rear-end accidents that the accident is the fault of the driver who ran into the back of the other vehicle. Of course, seasoned insurance adjusters will also look at the damage to the car and the explanations of how the accident occurred in determining fault.
So, the absence of a police report does not stand in the way of your ability to bring a claim against the at-fault driver.
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.