Knowing how to get a police report after a car accident is vital as it would help you in a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver or your defense as one. Often people forget to obtain a copy of the police report of their crash, thereby denying themselves the opportunity to know the official narrative of the events leading to the collision. As lawyers, we advise that you ensure you collect a copy of the report.
Under the Maryland Public Information Act, the public has the right to obtain a copy of the police report. This article will show you how to go about getting one and how useful it is in establishing your claim.
Ways of Getting a Car Accident Police Report in Maryland
The body in charge of releasing a police report to you is the Central Records Unit of the Maryland Transportation Authority located at 4330 Broening Highway, Baltimore. Based on the MTA guidelines, there are three ways you can obtain a police report:
Request Via Mail
You can request a copy of the police report to your accident via mail, but first, contact the CRU to determine if it is ready and the amount of the fee you need to pay. After doing this, download a Report Request Form, then make money orders or checks payable to the MTA or the MDTA.
Ensure that you include a self-addressed, business-sized stamped envelope along with the evidence of payment in addition to the request form. Note that you can only apply for the report seven days from the date the crash happened. Once your application scales through, the recording unit will send you a copy of the police report.
If the mail process does not work for you, you can apply electronically via email. When using this format, give detailed information of the report you want, including your identity and the time the accident happened.
You can also download the Report Request Form, fill it, and attach it to your email. The upside of this method is that it is free, but like the mail request, you have to wait seven days from the date the incident occurred for you to apply.
Obtain in Person
If you feel you can make the trip to the Central Records Unit’s offices after your accident, you can obtain the police report in person. However, you must do this during business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. The office is not open during the weekends and on state holidays.
Before showing up at the CRU, call to verify the report’s availability and the associated fees. You should also wait seven days from the accident date before applying and pay the required fees by money orders or checks. The CRU will give you an official copy once your application gets approved.
How to Get a Police Report From the Maryland State Police
If you want a copy of the Maryland State Police report, you have to contact its Central Records Division. Wait ten days from the date the crash occurred before making the application. If the accident happened in Baltimore and you want copies of the collision site photos, contact the Central Record Division Baltimore Police Department using their listed line.
How to Get a Post-Accident Police Report From Your Local County
Another agency you can obtain a police report from is your local county. For example, if you reside in Baltimore County, you must provide the report number, if any, date and time of the accident, the location, the type of incident, names of the individuals involved (suspect, vehicle owner, vehicle driver, vehicle passenger, e.t.c.), and your name. You can also visit the police’s LexisNexis website to get a copy.
How Useful Is a Police Report to Your Car Accident Claim in Maryland?
An accident report is usually compiled by a Maryland State Police Officer or a county officer after an accident with injuries or fatalities. It is the first piece of evidence relating to the crash and holds a high significance during criminal trials. They are usually not admissible during civil lawsuits, but your car accident lawyer can use it as a bargaining tool to get you the maximum compensation.
Talk to a Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer About Obtaining a Police Report After an Accident
Although the process of getting a police report appears simple, you still require the expert guidance of a personal injury attorney. Our lawyers at Pinder Plotkin LLC will request additional evidence to prove your case and ensure you get justice for the harm done to you. Contact us today for a free consultation.