What To Do In case of an Auto Accident
If possible, stop your vehicle at the point nearest the accident scene without obstructing traffic more than neccessary.
If anyone is injured:
1. Render first aid to the extent that you are qualified to perform
2. Stop bleeding
3. Call a doctor, an ambulance, or both
4. Do not move an injured person in anyway that could possibly add to his or her injury.
- Protect the scene and those involved from further damage or injury
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 warning flashers that are standard equipment on most vehicles.
State and local police officers are trained accident investigators. Their expertise may be invaluable in establishing the reason the accident occurred.
- Gather Information and Write It Down
Don't trust your memory. Write down the facts, including the names and addresses of witnesses; skid mark and distance measurements; and the names, addresses, license plate numbers of the driver involved.
Participants in automobile accidents are required by law to exihibit their drivers licences 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.
1. The name and address of the driver(s)
2. Driver's license number(s)
3. License plate number(s)
4. Insurance carrier(s)
5. Policy number(s)
6. Name(s) and address(es) of their agent(s)
7. Name(s) and address(es) of the witness(es)
8. Skid mark measurements
9. Distance Measurements
- Be Careful of 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 only with the investigating officer, your attourney and your insurance company.
Serious injuries do not always result in immediate pain or bloodshed. Consult a doctor or hospital even if there is the slightest chance that you may be injured. (We think it is always a better idea to consult doctor first before you even calling a lawyer.)
- 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 damages 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 witness while their memories are fresh and assure that the true facts are preserved. Get your lawyer's advise before giving any interviews or statements, except to representatives of your insurance carrier.
- File an Accident Report with the MVA
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 (MVA). 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.
This information was prepared by the Maryland State Bar Association's Public Awareness committee. If you are in need of further information, please contact them by calling (410) 685-7878 or (800) 492-1964.