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Do Minor Accidents Need to Be Reported in Maryland?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2018

Most accidents are minor and don’t involve injuries, but even minor accidents can cause property damage. It’s quite common to wonder whether reporting an accident is necessary for a small fender-bender.

In Maryland, code 20-107 governs accidents and accident reporting. The law requires that people in an accident filing an accident report with the Motor Vehicle Administration for accidents that result in bodily injury or death. Both drivers have 15 days to file. Exceptions include:

  • Accidents investigated by the police because the police officer will file the report.
  • The driver is physically incapable of filing the report.

However, reporting a minor accident is usually not required.

When to Involve Law Enforcement

There are certain instances when you need the aid of law enforcement even though the accident is minor. Call the police if any of the following apply:

  • There are injuries or potential injuries
  • One of the drivers lacks a valid license
  • Alcohol may be a factor
  • A vehicle will need towing
  • The other driver refuses to provide information
  • The other driver leaves the scene (attempt to get a description of the car and the plate number)
  • There is a disagreement regarding the cause of the accident

When in doubt, notify law enforcement. Accidents cause an adrenaline rush in the body that can mask symptoms of an injury. If an injury surfaces later and there isn’t a police report, it could be more difficult to prove the injury resulted from the accident.

Procedure for Accidents

No matter the size of the accident, take the following steps immediately:

  • Stop driving. Failing to stop is a criminal offense. Pull to the side of the road if possible to avoid impeding the flow of traffic.
  • Offer help. Give first aid to any injured parties if you are able. Call for an ambulance, if needed.
  • Protect the scene. Use hazard lights to warn other drivers of the accident.
  • Exchange information. The law requires drivers to exchange contact and insurance information at the scene of an accident.
  • Call the police. In most cases, it’s best to involve the police so there is an official record of the accident. Police are professional investigators, so the information they report could be helpful later.
  • Document information. Never rely on your memory. Write down all details of the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind. Also, gather the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident or the aftermath and take photos of the scene.

As soon as possible after the accident, get medical attention. Even if you don’t feel you suffered an injury, it’s important to have a thorough medical exam. This is for your safety and to preserve your rights.

Report to Your Insurance Company

Sometimes people try to avoid involving their insurance company for minor accidents because:

  • They fear a rate increase.
  • They think it’s easier to work directly with the other driver

Not reporting an accident to the insurance company is a bad idea. All insurance companies require reporting. Failure to report even minor accidents to the insurance company can have significant ramifications. Some insurance providers may cancel a driver’s policy for failing to report an accident promptly.

If the other driver later discovers an injury or notices vehicle damage that wasn’t immediately apparent at the scene, your insurance company may not cover the claim. Not reporting the accident could give them cause to deny coverage. This can be costly if the other driver pursues a claim or files a lawsuit.

Consult Your Attorney

Even if the accident is minor, it’s wise to speak with a car accident attorney. An attorney will have valuable advice that could save you from making a costly mistake. Contact the attorneys at Murphy Falcon Murphy for a consultation today.