Requesting Maryland State Police Car Accident Reports
When there is a vehicle accident or any other incident the state police are called out to respond to, a formal police report is prepared and filed. Specifically for auto accidents, a State of Maryland Vehicle Crash Report or police accident report is filed. For other types of situations that require a police response, there are similar reports specific to that given situation that must be filed. This practice is standard among the Maryland State Police as well as by the various jurisdictional police departments across the state.
Following an accident, the police accident report is almost always a key piece of evidence in any automobile tort cases or claims. If you want compensation for the accident you and your lawyer will want to get and use the police accident report to successfully pursue your claim.
Basically what happens is when an officer responds to the scene of an accident, they will obtain statements from the drivers involved as well as any potential witnesses. Skid marks, where the vehicles are located, where the damage to the cars is located, what type of damage it is, etc. and any other type of potential physical evidence that may be present at the scene is also examined and included in the accident report. Using this information, the officer then will formulate a narrative of what likely occurred.
Additionally, sometimes officers will issue traffic citations if appropriate as well as make a determination of who was at fault for the accident. For the settlement of a personal injury case, the officer's determination is crucial. But keep in mind that the police report itself and the officer's conclusions in the report are not admissible at trial.
The officer will add the above determinations and the factual summary of what happened to the accident report. Where ever you are in Maryland, the same accident form called the State of Maryland Motor Vehicle Crash Report is used.
The Maryland VCR requires that the officer provide the location of the accident and other crucial information like the driver's names, a "diagram" or depiction of the accident scene, and a written factual narrative of what occurred.
Sometimes the level of detail, thoroughness, and information of the report is not always great. It is really hit or miss when it comes to these accident reports. A lot of times there may only be very minimal details of what occurred or supporting evidence. This happens a lot with minor accidents.
The report is still critical to your case, however, even if it is not as inclusive as you hoped. If the police respond to an accident and you are injured, there will be an accident report. To successfully win your claim or lawsuit, you or your lawyer is going to want to obtain a copy of that report.Obtaining your Accident Report from the Maryland State Police
For auto accidents and any other incidents that the Maryland State Police (MSP) respond to, the Central Records Division acts as their central repository for collecting, analyzing, and distributing car accident reports and crime statistics. The CRD is the department who responds to any request for copies of police reports filed by a State Trooper.
When it comes to obtaining a motor vehicle accident report from MSP, there are three different ways you can do it.
- Ten days following the date of the accident you can obtain a copy of the report from the MSP Barrack where it was filed at. You have to pay by check or money order a fee of $4 payable to Maryland State Police. This document search fee is nonrefundable. You don't have to, but MSP recommend you call the Barrack beforehand to ensure the report is available before you come.
- You can also go on the MSP website and on the left side of the webpage under "Citizen Services", select the first option titled "Police Reports." The page you are brought to lays out the ways you can obtain police reports and at the bottom of the page is a link that takes you to the Motor Vehicle Accident Report Form. You can also access it by clicking here. You need to download this form, print it out, and complete it in writing. Once you are done, mail it with a check or money order for $4 to the address provided on the form. After a copy of the report becomes available, it will be mailed to you. You cannot request a copy of the report until ten days after the date the accident occurred.
- After a copy of the record is available, you are also able to obtain a copy in person by going to the Central Records Division. This office is open during regular business hours 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday with the exception of holidays.
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