If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important to gather all the information you can about the circumstances of the crash. A copy of the official accident report is vital for your records and for your attorney in the event that you take legal action.
The Maryland Transportation Authority’s Central Records Unit serves as the state’s primary storehouse for collecting and distributing vehicle accident reports, along with reports for criminal investigations and other law enforcement incidents. Under the agency’s policy and the state’s Public Information Act, you have the right to obtain an official copy of your MDTA report.
Requesting a State Report
There are three ways to get an accident report from the state:
- Request it by mail. First, you’ll need to get in touch with the Central Records Unit to make sure the report is available and to find out the exact amount of the fee you’ll pay. Next, download the appropriate form, fill it out and mail it with the correct fee, payable by money order or check to the Maryland Transportation Authority or MDTA. Include a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope along with the form and your payment. You’ll receive an official report copy in the mail. Reports are not available until at least seven days after the date of your accident. The mailing address is:Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Attn: Central Records Unit, 4330 Broening Highway, Baltimore, MD 21222.
- Get it in person at the Central Records Unit. During business hours, not including state holidays, you can request a copy of your police report. MDTA asks that you call before arriving to make sure your report is available and to find out the amount of the fee, which must be paid with a money order or check at the time you receive the report.
- Make an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can either fill in the same report request form and send it via email, or include as much information as possible in the body of your email. Your report will be sent to your email address as a PDF, and there’s no cost.
Larger files, including specialty requests and detailed collision reports, must be mailed, and you’ll be charged a fee for the cost of searching and duplicating the documents.
Reports from Local Municipalities
If you’re in an accident that is investigated by local municipal police rather than by the Maryland State Police, you will need to request your report through the local municipality.
For an accident in Baltimore, you can make your report request through the Central Records Section, Community Correspondence Unit of the Baltimore Police Department. Records from 2011 through the present are available online, and you’ll be charged a fee of $14 to obtain a copy of a report.
You also can request a report by mail. You’ll need to send a money order or check for $10 that is payable to the Director of Finance. The fee is not refundable, and you’re advised not to mail cash. The canceled check and validated request serve as your receipt.
When requesting by mail, you’ll need to download and fill out the appropriate police report request form.
Other municipalities in Maryland use similar procedures for requesting accident reports. For example, in Prince George’s County, you can get a copy of a report for a non-fatal accident through the specific police district station that investigated. With your case number, you can go to the appropriate station and pay a $10 fee, payable only by money order or business check, to get a copy of your report.
Reports other than accident reports are not available at police district stations, and the accident reports are kept at the local stations only for 30 days. Beyond 30 days following your accident, you’ll need to get your report through the police department’s Police Records Center at (301) 985-3660 and follow that agency’s instructions to receive a report by mail only; the center does not provide reports on a walk-in basis. Expect to wait two to four weeks to receive your report.
If you’ve been in a crash, it’s important to work with an experienced car accident attorney. Even if the crash seemed minor at the time and you suffered no apparent injuries, vehicle accidents can result in significant legal issues that require the counsel of a skilled attorney. For a free consultation, please contact DuBoff & Associates, Chartered.