Personal Injury Blog

Does the Police Report Determine the Outcome of My Maryland Auto Accident Lawsuit?

By: Matthew Tievsky

In Maryland, the police don't write up a report for every auto accident. But when they do (usually when they suspect an injury), the police generally assign blame to one driver or another. Does the police report determine who wins an auto accident lawsuit in Maryland?

The answer is – no. In fact, the police report generally can't even be admitted into evidence at trial. (The same is true of any ticket that the police issued to a driver, unless that driver went to court and pled guilty.) If the police weren't at the scene, then their opinion of what happened is irrelevant. What matters are witnesses and physical evidence (e.g., video and photographs).

And that's the importance of a police report: It describes what is said by the witnesses – the involved drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at the scene – and what is indicated by the physical evidence. The police report provides leads for investigation. It also gives a hint at what would likely happen if you were to go to trial. If the police report finds that you did nothing wrong, this is indicative that you may have a strong case, because the police have interviewed the witnesses and concluded (as a jury might) that it looks more likely than not that you were in the right. But sometimes the police are mistaken, and we have taken cases where the police incorrectly faulted our client. The jury is entitled to make its own independent determination of who was right and wrong, based on what the witnesses and physical evidence have to say.

If you have any questions about the strength of your potential personal injury case, you should contact a Maryland personal injury attorney at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.