Maryland does not require you to report all car accidents to the police. You must report a collision in the following circumstances.
- If someone was hurt in the accident
- If any of the vehicles involved cannot be moved safely
- If any of the drivers involved in the accident appear to be intoxicated
- If any of the drivers involved in the accident did not have a valid driver’s license
- If any driver tries to leave the crash scene without exchanging the required insurance information and contact details
- If any public property was damaged by the crash
If a collision includes death or bodily injury you have 15 days to notify the Motor Vehicle Administration in writing of the accident.
Even when you are not required to call the police after a car accident, Maryland law still imposes certain requirements. Drivers must stop at the crash scene and provide:
- Their name
- Their address
- The name and address of the owner of the vehicle if this differs from the person driving
- The name of their insurance company and their insurance policy number
- The name and address of their local insurance agent if this information is available
Maryland has a Collision Information Exchange Form that involved parties can complete at a crash scene to ensure the relevant information is included. The government recommends printing several copies and keeping them in your glove box in case of an accident.
Fault in Maryland Car Accident Cases
Maryland is an at-fault state for car accidents. This means that if you are involved in a collision and another driver was to blame for it, you can pursue a claim against the motorist responsible for causing the crash. This is true even for more minor injuries.
Some other states, called no-fault states, operate under different rules. They require drivers to buy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to pay for their own losses in minor car accidents regardless of who is at fault. PIP pays for medical costs and partial lost wages.
While Maryland doesn’t follow these no-fault rules, Maryland does require insurers to offer PIP coverage–although drivers do have some options to waive this protection.
Looking To Speak With an Accident Lawyer? Find One Near You
Get Your Free Consultation From a Lawyer Near You.
Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Rules
There is one crucial rule regarding fault you must be aware of if you are involved in a Maryland car accident. Maryland follows contributory negligence rules, which can affect your right to recover compensation.
Under contributory negligence rules, if you were even partly responsible for causing your own injuries, you cannot make a claim against the other driver who was mostly to blame. This is true even if you were just 1% at fault for the injuries you sustained.
There are some exceptions to the contributory negligence rules. For example, Maryland applies a last clear chance rule, which can result in a defendant being held accountable for a crash a plaintiff may have contributed to causing–if the defendant had the last clear opportunity to prevent the crash from happening.
Maryland lawmakers have unsuccessfully attempted to modify contributory negligence rules and instead adopt a doctrine of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence applies in most states and allows plaintiffs partial recovery for the portion of their damages a defendant was responsible for (for example, a defendant who was 60% responsible for causing $100,000 in damages could be required to pay $60,000).
Because efforts have been made to change the rules, it’s helpful to work with an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer to find out if any modifications in the law have occurred prior to the time of your accident that could affect your claim for compensation.