What are the Reporting Requirements for Maryland Car Accidents?
Whenever a driver causes a car accident in Maryland, they have a duty to stop their vehicle and report certain information. Any driver who leaves the scene of the accident is guilty of a crime under Maryland law, commonly referred to as “hit and run.” Although the reporting requirements for these different types of accidents follow the same guidelines, the penalties for hit and run change based the damage or injury involved.
What Should Drivers Do Immediately After Causing an Accident?
Under various sections of the Maryland Code of Transportation, any driver who causes an accident must immediately stop their vehicle. More specifically, the driver must stop as close as possible to the accident site, without unreasonably obstructing traffic. Then the driver must return to the accident site and complete the reporting requirements described in the next section.
The duty to stop and return to the accident site applies to any vehicle collision that causes:
- Damage to another person’s property;
- Physical injury to another person; or
- Death of another person.
For any accident that involves injury to another person, even fatal injuries, drivers are also required to offer reasonable assistance to any injured parties. If an injured party requires medical assistance, the driver who caused the accident must attempt to arrange immediate medical transportation to a nearby hospital.
How Can Drivers Satisfy Reporting Requirements After an Accident?
The accident reporting requirements appear under Maryland Code of Transportation Section 20-104. After causing an accident and returning to the scene, this section requires a driver to provide the following information:
- Legal name;
- Permanent address;
- Vehicle registration number; and
- Driver’s license information.
The driver who caused the accident can give the information above to the other driver, any injured person, or a law enforcement officer. If none of these parties are present at the scene — or capable or receiving or retaining this information — then the driver who caused the accident must personally file a report with an appropriate law enforcement agency.
If the accident involves damage to unattended property — meaning the property owner is not present at the accident site — there is an exception to these rules. In these situations, the driver who caused the accident must leave a note in a conspicuous location on the damaged property, including all of the required information outlined above.
What are the Penalties for Failing to Report an Accident?
Any driver who causes an accident and leaves the scene without filing a report is guilty of a criminal offense. Though the applicable punishment changes based on the type of injury or damage causes. For example, leaving the scene of a car accidents involving:
- Property Damage — Subjects the offender to imprisonment for two months and fines up to $500;
- Physical Injury — Subjects the offender to imprisonment for 12 months and fines up to $3,000; or
- Death — Subjects the offender to imprisonment for five years and fines up to $5,000.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about the reporting requirements for a car or truck accident in Maryland, it can be highly beneficial to contact an accomplished criminal defense attorney. The Baltimore car accident attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP feature proven capabilities in the arena of criminal defense, including hit and run offenses. If you need legal help with a criminal defense or personal injury case, contact us today for a free initial consultation.