Not every car accident in Maryland is severe or catastrophic. There are minor car accidents that leave little or no property damage and cause little or no injuries. An excellent example of this is a fender bender. Due to the not-so-serious nature of minor crashes, most people wonder whether or not they need to report it,
This article looks at whether Maryland drivers need to report minor car accidents. If you’re involved in a crash of this nature, seek legal advice from car accident lawyers at Pinder Plotkin, LLC. We represent accident victims’ interests and protect their rights.
When Should You Involve the Police After a Minor Car Accident?
Maryland Code Transportation Title 20 – Vehicle Accident Laws – Accident and Accident Reports section 20-107 governs all types of accidents and the filing of accident reports. The law provides that people involved in traffic collisions that result in bodily injury or death should file an accident report with the Motor Vehicle Administration.
Both drivers in such an accident have 15 days to file the accident report. One exception to this rule is an accident where the police carried out an investigation, and the investigating officer files the report. The second exception is where the driver suffers severe injuries and is incapable of filing the report within that period.
Conversely, you do not need to report a minor car accident. However, the law provides instances where it is prudent to get a law enforcement agency involved. They are where:
- There are injuries or the possibility of an injury
- One of the drivers lack a valid driver’s license
- One of the drivers appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A vehicle needs towing
- The other drivers refuse to provide information, like their name, insurance carrier, license plate number, and vehicle registration.
- The other driver leaves the scene after the accident and fails to provide the above information. Here, you should get their license plate number and vehicle make and model.
- There is a disagreement regarding the cause of the accident
Our Maryland auto accident lawyers advise drivers to report minor traffic accidents even if the above exceptions do not apply. Also, if you have doubts about the way things happened or the behavior of the other driver, report to the police. Another reason to file a report after a minor car accident is because of delayed injuries.
Delayed injuries are wounds that do not show up immediately after an accident. This is primarily due to the adrenaline coursing through the body after the crash. Delayed injuries may take hours or days to manifest, and the other driver would be long gone by then.
However, if you filed an accident report immediately after the accident, you’ll likely be able to track down the other driver and request compensation. Keep in mind that you can only request payment if you are not the fault party. If you are, your auto insurance or health insurance would have to cover your medical bills.
Even in such situations, they need to see a copy of the accident report. This is because insurers hardly want to pay compensation, no matter how small. So, they’ll dispute the accident claim, and an official accident report is the only way to establish you were indeed in an accident.
Why Drivers Fear Reporting Crashes to Their Insurance Provider
Drivers often try to avoid getting their insurance company involved after an accident. This is more common in minor car accidents for the following reasons:
- Fear of increased insurance premiums
- The belief that they can quickly settle with the other driver
Failing to report an accident to your insurance carrier is not a good idea. All insurance companies require policyholders to make a report after a crash. If a policyholder fails to do so, their insurance carrier may cancel their policy. Your insurance premium would likely stay the same as an accident victim because you did not cause the accident.
However, the premium would be affected if you caused the accident. This is because the insurance company will view you as a high-risk individual who’ll cause them to lose money by paying compensation. But whatever the case, it’s safer and wiser to report a minor car accident to your insurer.
Were You in a Minor Auto Crash? Let Our Maryland Auto Accident Lawyers Help You!
Even if the car accident is minor, it is wise to speak with a Maryland car accident attorney. The lawyer would have valuable advice that will keep you from making a blunder. So contact us today at Pinder Plotkin LLC for more information on how we can help you. We offer free consultations.