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We have Spanish, French, and Farsi speaking translators available for our clients upon request.

Are Police Reports for Car Accidents Public Record in Maryland?

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The Maryland Public Information Act and How It Relates to Police Reports for Car Accidents

After a car accident, the most important thing to do is ensure that everyone is safe and that emergency personnel are on their way. This usually involves calling 911. When someone makes this call, police will also be dispatched to the location. Officers can help direct traffic while EMS assess and care for anyone injured and the vehicles are moved. But they also perform another essential function that can be extremely valuable if you need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party later on: completing a police report.

Car Accident Police Reports

When you’re involved in a car accident, the police officers who come out to the scene have to fill out a report about why they were called out and what they found when they got there. This document will include personal and contact information for both parties and a description of the vehicles. There will also be information about the weather and road conditions at the time and date of the accident. The report will also specify whether it was a hit-and-run or all parties were able to be contacted.

It’s also likely that both parties — and any witnesses — will be asked to provide statements to the police as long as they do not need immediate medical attention. If anyone is badly injured, these statements may be taken at the hospital once the person is in stable condition and able to communicate. Any statements provided to the officers are usually also part of the police report.

The Maryland Public Information Act

The Maryland Public Information Act outlines what government activities are public record in the state of Maryland and what rights the public has in obtaining these records. Not all records are made public, and even public records are allowed to be redacted if they have personal information that is otherwise protected.

The Public Information Act also specifically states that any member of the public can get access to these records without “unnecessary cost and delay.” This means you should be able to get a copy of the police report in a timely manner after your request, and while the police department can charge a fee, it should be nominal.

Obtaining a Copy of Your Police Report

To obtain a copy of your police report, you need to submit the request to the proper agency. Depending on where the accident happened, this could be the local police department or the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. Depending on the process for that department, you may be able to go in person to pick up a copy of the report, or you may need to submit a formal request in writing. In most cases, you should be provided with a copy of the police report within a few business days. Your attorney is often able to request the police report for you as well.

Once you have the report, look over it carefully to ensure everything is accurate as you remember it. Police officers are human, and it’s possible that incorrect information could be provided, but it’s important to know that as soon as possible so it can be corrected or amended if it’s important to your case.

When You Need Legal Assistance

Getting a copy of your police report can give you valuable information about what happened in a car accident, but it’s not the only thing you need. When you work with Tehrani Law LLC, we will help you understand what documentation is important for your case and when dealing with the insurance companies and walk you through each step of the process. If you’ve been injured in a car accident that has left you with medical bills or lost wages from time off work, partnering with our firm can help you recoup those losses and hold the at-fault party responsible. Call our Gaithersburg, MD, office today at 301-939-0133 to find out more.

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