Publication : Brochures
What to Do in Case of an Auto
This information has been prepared
by the Section on Delivery of Legal Services and Negligence, Insurance
and Workers’ Compensation, and the Public Awareness Committee of
the Maryland State Bar Association. It is intended to inform the public
and not serve as legal advice.
No matter how minor an accident may be, the failure to
stop can result in serious criminal consequences. If possible, stop your
vehicle at the point nearest the accident scene without obstructing traffic
more than necessary.
If anyone is injured:
- Render first aid to the extent you are qualified;
- Stop bleeding
- Call a doctor or an ambulance or both;
- Do not move an injured person in any way that could
possibly add to his or her injury.
Protect the Scene and those Involved from Further Damage
If the accident has obstructed the roadway, take measures
to adequately warn approaching drivers. If the highway is obstructed at night,
illuminate the accident scene if possible. Use the warning flashers that
are standard equipment on most vehicles.
Call a Police Officer
State and local police officers are trained accident investigators.
Their expertise may be invaluable in establishing the reason the accident
Gather Information and Write It Down
Don’t trust your memory. Write down the facts, including
the names and addresses of witnesses; skid marks and distance measurements;
and the names, addresses and license plate numbers of the drivers involved.
Participants in automobile accidents are required by law
to exhibit their driver’s licenses and provide their vehicle registration
numbers, insurance carriers, insurance policy numbers, and names and addresses
of their local insurance agents to each driver involved in the accident.
Below is a handy form to help you collect the appropriate information
Name(s) Address(es) of Driver(s)____________________________________________________
License Plate Number(s)__________________________________________________________
Name(s) and Address(es) of Agent(s)_____________________________________________
Name(s) and Address(es) of Witness(es)_______________________________________________
Skid Mark Measurements__________________________________________________________
Be Careful What You Say
Do not admit fault even if you think the accident was your
fault. You may discover later that the other driver was equally or more at
fault. Statements made during the excitement of an accident may be misconstrued
or later misquoted by others. Discuss the accident with the investigating
officer, your attorney and your insurance company.
See Your Doctor
Serious injuries do not always result in immediate pain
or bloodshed. Consult a doctor or hospital if there is the slightest chance
you may be injured.
Inform Your Insurance Company Immediately
Your insurance company employs trained investigators who
will attempt to develop all evidence for your defense. Failure to promptly
notify your insurer may void your policy and leave you without insurance
coverage for damage resulting from the accident.
Consult Your Lawyer Promptly
If you anticipate filing a civil claim for damage or facing
a trial on a traffic violation charge, the sooner your lawyer is brought
into the matter the better he or she can advise you and protect your rights.
Your lawyer can obtain statements from the witnesses while their memories
are fresh and assure that the true facts are preserved.
Get your lawyer’s advice before giving any interviews
or statements, except to representatives of your insurance carrier.
File an Accident Report with the Motor Vehicle Administration
Regardless of fault, the operator of every motor vehicle
involved in an accident resulting in death or personal injury within the
State of Maryland must report the accident to the Motor Vehicle Administration.
You are not required to file an accident report with the MVA if the accident
has been investigated by the police and a report has been filed with the
Maryland State Police or if the accident resulted in property damages only.
What to Do in Case
of an Auto Accident © 1983, MSBA, Inc. Revised 1994
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any
form without written permission from the Maryland State Bar Association.