Police Reports: What Do They Mean?
In most counties in Maryland, if the police respond to a car accident, they will issue a police report, or more accurately, a Vehicle Accident Report, if someone is taken from the scene by ambulance, someone is arrested, or if a vehicle is towed. The issuance of a report, otherwise, is generally within the discretion of the responding officer. If no report is issued, the officer will usually provide a written information exchange form.
The important information in a police report or information exchange is generally the identity of the people involved, their addresses, and their insurance information. Both the report and the information exchange may provide witness information as well.
The accident report, unlike the simple information exchange, will also have information about the road, weather, and other similar conditions, and will give a description of the collision with a diagram. It is important to remember that the reporting officer is not a witness to the accident. The diagram and description may be based on several different descriptions of the collision. If a driver is “faulted” by the police officer, it does not necessarily mean that his or her insurer will accept responsibility for the collision.