If you are involved in an accident, the mental and physical shock of the incident can cause confusion and stress. Taking the steps to ensure both parties have the information they need can easily fall by the wayside, and ultimately cause future anxiety from medical bills or other expenses caused by the accident. Here, automobile accident attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein discusses when you should call the police in an accident, and how to proceed with filing reports and seeking legal counsel.
File a Report for Both Small and Large Accidents
If there is anything beyond minor damage, it is important to call the police to file a report. Sometimes, injuries may not be apparent at first glance, and one party may miss seeing damage to their vehicle due to the initial shock of the accident. In addition to taking down important information, police officers can also work as a third-party mediator in keeping the situation civil. Accidents may cause emotions to run high, and you may not be in the best mindset to make decisions. Police officers can file accident reports and aid in the exchange of information between the parties involved in the accident. Calling 911, if you are rattled also gives the chance to speak with a 911 operator for advice if you are confused about how to proceed.
Certain States Require Police Officers at the Scene
When you are involved in an accident, it is also important to note that there are varying state laws regarding the presence of police officers at an accident. In Maryland specifically, police officers are not required to be present for property damage only unless the vehicle is not drivable, but the MVA does offer a collision information exchange form to use to ensure you take down the proper information after an accident. Also, in Maryland a police report will be made if someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident and is taken in an ambulance to a medical facility. However, in other states, police are required to be present if a certain amount of damage has been caused. In the District of Columbia for example, police must be called if damage to vehicles exceeds $250.00. Be sure to thoroughly research your state’s specific policies regarding automobile accidents in order to be prepared for any future complications that may arise. In general, it is best to contact law enforcement officials if you are unsure of how to proceed in the event of an accident.
Police Officers Streamline the Reporting and Insurance Process
Finally, calling a police officer provides another outlet for documentation and mediation during and after an accident. While you may think that you or the other party has documented everything needed for insurance, there is always a chance that something vital can be missed, causing strife and frustration between parties after the fact. Police officers are very familiar with the reporting process, so having an officer present at the scene can help ensure that all matters are handled in accordance with state laws. Furthermore, police officers can also act as a witness in any future litigation matters. For example, if you are involved in an accident in which the other party gives a statement to the police. This may be very helpful if the other party changes their story at a later date. Police reports s may also help expedite the insurance claim process, which can bring solace to both parties.
Speak To Automobile Accident Attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein To Learn More
The process of documenting information and seeking help after an accident can be confusing and frustrating. At the Law Offices of Douglas C. Lauenstein, qualified attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein guides you through the process of seeking legal counsel after an accident, and helps ensure that you are properly represented and compensated for any physical, monetary or emotional damage that has been caused. To learn more about how Maryland attorney Douglas C. Lauenstein can help you through the automobile accident process, contact our Baltimore County office today.