Data published by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) shows some pretty alarming trends, one of which is that 16.2% of all serious auto accident injuries for 2020 occurred here in Baltimore despite the fact that only 9.8% of our state’s population resides within city limits. Considering how other MDOT data from 2022 shows that there were nearly 18,000 traffic accidents reported for our city alone in 2021, that means there are likely many situations in which motorists had to make on-the-spot decisions about what to do at their crash scenes.
Individuals involved in crashes often find themselves stressed and disoriented right after a crash occurs, which can make it challenging to know what steps to take to ensure the best outcome should they ultimately decide to file a claim to recover compensation for their injuries, lost earnings, and other costs they incur due to their involvement in it. Below, we’ll address which information to exchange in a car accident, so you’ll have a resource to reference if you have the misfortune of becoming involved in a crash in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland.
What Does Maryland Law Require You To Do After a Collision?
Let’s start trying to tackle the question of what type of information you should exchange after having a car crash in Baltimore by discussing what Maryland law says about what should happen post-wreck.
Auto accidents must be reported to the police in Maryland in the following situations:
- If one of the motorists involved in the crash is unlicensed
- When a motorist attempted to flee the scene of the crash without first exchanging their contact details
- Anytime one of the cars involved is immobilized
- If a motorist involved appears to be intoxicated
- When someone suffers injuries in the collision
- If property damage results from the crash
However, it should be noted that in any accident, our state laws require all motorists to stop and exchange the following information regardless:
- Contact information for the vehicle owner (if it’s not the same as the operator of the automobile)
- Insurance company names, along with their respective policy numbers
The Maryland State Police has created a Collision Information Exchange Form that they encourage all motorists to keep on hand in their cars to remind them of:
- When to call the police after a crash
- What type of information to exchange with the other driver they were involved in the crash with
What You Should Get From or Share With Others at Your Car Accident Scene
As you likely know, an exchange of information is often one in which you and another person both share important data with one another. As such, your aim should be to request the following information while at the car accident scene:
- Contact details for the other motorist involved in the crash: Information you should request includes their name, address, phone number, license plate and vehicle registration, and auto insurance details.
- Contact information for any eyewitnesses: You should take time to assess the crash scene to see if anyone might have seen how the accident transpired, if possible, after it happens. Taking down their names and contact information so they can put that perspective on an official record if needed in the future may prove critical in your case.
- A business card for the responding officer: A police officer should prepare an accident report when you summon them to your crash scene. You should request their business card with their contact information if they don’t readily offer it in case they don’t follow up with you, letting you know when that report is available.
What You May Want To Avoid Exchanging at a Crash Scene
While there are many different pieces of information you may want to take down or give others following your crash, you should steer clear from exchanging the following:
- Discussing particulars regarding how your accident occurred or injuries you suffered: It’s best not to engage in a conversation about how your accident occurred, as any admissions of fault or discussions about injuries may ultimately affect your ability to recover compensation in your case.
- Any information that supports or disproves liability: Photographs, cell phone video footage, and eyewitness accounts provided may shed light on negligence and other contributory factors, such as intoxication, drowsiness, speeding, and other types of reckless driving that resulted in your crash. It’s best to keep any pictures or videos and narratives about what happened to yourself as they may come in handy should the other party attempt to deny liability in the future.
Steps To Take After Exchanging Information at a Car Accident Scene in Baltimore
Generally, the exchange of information discussed above will occur between the time when your accident occurs, 911 is called, and law enforcement arrives on the scene of your crash. However, in some cases, it’s the police officer oneself who acts as a mediator of sorts, going back and forth between you and the other driver and facilitating the exchange of this very important information between you two. This is especially the case if you’re too seriously hurt to handle these responsibilities on your own.
As for what comes after the exchange of information described above, that may include you needing to:
- Take an ambulance ride to the local hospital emergency room for triage care, or take yourself to an urgent care facility or your general practitioner to be checked out for potential injuries
- Notify the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration if the crash involved bodily injury or death in writing within 15 days of the accident occurring
- Report your wreck to your auto insurance company
- Notify your employer if you’re going to miss any work due to your vehicle needing to be repaired or you having suffered extensive injuries in the crash
- Take your vehicle to have its damages assessed and get a quote for repairs issued
- Continue receiving medical treatment as per your doctors’ orders
- Consult with a lawyer to learn more about your right to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses attributable to someone else’s negligence in Maryland
- Document your time missed from work, traveling to and from doctors’ offices, body shops, and your attorney’s office
Coping with the pain associated with your recovery, along with the newfound responsibilities that come with reporting your crash, dealing with a sudden influx of insurance adjuster calls, receiving much-needed health care, and everything else that comes with being involved in a car accident can be overwhelming. Make sure you exchange all information discussed above at the crash site, then reach out to an attorney to help alleviate some of the burden associated with building a strong case for compensation that you’re currently carrying on your shoulders.