The goal of a Maryland car accident lawsuit is to award the victim of the accident financial compensation for the injuries they sustained in the accident. However, sometimes, determining who is the victim is not an easy task. While some accidents present straightforward situations pointing to one or more parties being at fault, other accidents are much more complicated. In either case, conducting an in-depth investigation is a crucial step in filing a personal injury lawsuit.
A few basic facts that should be a part of any Maryland car accident investigation include:
- the location and time of the accident;
- which party informed law enforcement of the collision and how long after the accident;
- the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident;
- the seriousness of the accident both in terms of property damage and physical injuries;
- whether additional support such as wreckers or ambulances were dispatched to the scene;
- review of any video surveillance, both public and private;
- the direction of approach and final rest positions of all vehicles involved in the accident;
- detailed documentation of the traffic signs and markings, as well as any unique traffic features in the immediate area; and
- taking pictures, or creating a sketch of the scene.
For the most part, law enforcement will conduct an investigation after a Maryland car accident. However, as a recent state appellate decision illustrates, injured motorists should not rely exclusively on law enforcement to investigate an accident.
In that case, a police officer responded to the scene of a car accident involving the plaintiff and another driver. The crash caused the plaintiff to lose consciousness briefly. When police arrived, the plaintiff was awake, lying on the center median, but not speaking. The responding officers spoke to the other driver, who claimed that the plaintiff ran a red light and crashed into his car. The officer did not talk to anyone else, and determined that the accident was not serious enough to warrant a criminal investigation or a traffic citation. However, the officer completed the required accident report, noting that the plaintiff ran a red light.
As a result of the accident, the plaintiff was hospitalized for several days. After she was released from the hospital and saw the police report, the plaintiff brought an eyewitness to the police station, who stated that it was the other driver who was at fault. The police officers decided not to amend the complaint. Ultimately, the plaintiff was able to settle her claim against the other driver and pursued a civil rights claim against the police officer.
While the plaintiff’s case against the officer was ultimately dismissed, the case serves as an important reminder to accident victims; law enforcement officers are not perfect and may not adequately investigate a car accident.
Have You Been Involved in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Maryland car accident, contact the dedicated injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent injury victims in all types of Maryland traffic accidents, including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. We have a track record of success over 20-plus years, and put our experience behind each one of our clients’ cases. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.