Fender Benders: Do Minor Vehicular Accidents Need to Be Reported?

If you are involved in a minor car accident that results in minimal or no damage to the vehicles, such as a fender bender where nobody involved is injured, are you required to report the accident to the police? Here, traffic and automobile accident attorney Jeffrey Scholnick explains whether or not minor vehicular accidents need to be reported.

Do I Need to Report A Fender Bender?

While some states require you to report any type of accident, no matter how minor, Maryland law states that minor vehicular accidents that result in no injuries and little-to-no damage to the vehicles involved are not required for investigation by police. Example accidents that do not legally require the police to be notified include minor fender benders such as a vehicle tapping the bumper of another vehicle at a stop sign or red light.

While there may not be a legal requirement to report fender benders, it is always advisable to report a vehicular accident, no matter how seemingly minor. It is a legal requirement, however, to exchange information with the other driver in a fender bender and move safely off the road if possible.

When Am I Required to Report a Vehicular Accident?

Legally, the only accidents in which police involvement is required are instances where:

  • an individual is injured,
  • a vehicle is required to be towed or cannot be moved safely,
  • a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
  • a driver does not have a license,
  • public property is damaged,
  • a domestic animal is hit,
  • a hit-and-run occurs, or
  • if a driver refuses or is unable to exchange information.

Am I Required to Notify My Insurance Company?

While it is not a legal requirement to report a minor accident to the police, it is typically a requirement to notify your insurance company, no matter how seemingly insignificant the accident was. In addition, it is always recommended to notify law enforcement of the accident, even if it appears to be minor. This is because the effects of accident-related injuries, such as bruising, stiffness and pain, can be delayed after an accident occurs—in other words, if you fail to file a police report, and later realize that you are hurt and that your car experienced more damage than you originally noticed, this could result in a liability dispute if you later claim that an accident did happen and caused personal injury.

In order to obtain a record of exactly what happened at the scene of an accident to protect you from a false or exaggerated claim later on, it is best to notify law enforcement about a fender bender. They may only require a mere exchange of information at the scene, which will provide the security that the incident did occur in case it is later disputed.

Discuss Your Car Crash Claim With Car Accident Attorney Jeffrey Scholnick

Because more than half of all vehicular accidents in Maryland result in personal injury, it is recommended to involve law enforcement in an accident, even a minor fender bender, to protect you and document what actually happened in case your claims are ever disputed. It is also advisable to discuss your individual case with a car accident attorney, such as car accident attorney Jeffrey Scholnick, before you notify your insurance company about an accident. If you were involved in a car accident in the state of Maryland and seek a qualified car accident attorney to provide you with legal counsel, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey Scholnick today.


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