Accidents can be as upsetting and confusing as they are unexpected.

Since they are also inevitable, print this list of the 4 most important things to do at the scene of your Maryland car accident and keep it in your car. (Actually, the same advice applies in other states, too.)

Basically, this is what you need to take care of, in this order: arrange necessary medical care, make the scene safe and gather information.

If you have been seriously injured, your only concern should be dealing with your injuries. The police will be involved and they will protect the scene and conduct an investigation.

If you have been in a “routine” Maryland car accident which has not resulted in disabling injuries, do these things . . .

Call The Police

Even if you have a minor accident, call the police by dialing “911.” When they arrive, cooperate with their investigation.

Police will make sure the scene is protected and that the relevant information is gathered. They will probably prepare a report that will include all the important information you will need to make legal claims.

However, if you have had a minor “fender bender,” the police may not come to the scene even if you call them. If the vehicle damage is minor and non-disabling, no one has been injured and there are no obvious violations of the law (such as drunk driving), the police probably won’t come to the scene, especially in busy urban areas.

If the police do not come to the scene, do these things at the scene of your car accident . . .

Protect The Scene

Turn on vehicle flasher lights, put out cones or flares, or move the vehicles off the road. Do whatever is necessary to prevent a second accident.

Exchange Information With All Other Drivers

Identify all other drivers who were involved in the accident and get this information from each one . . .

  1. The identity of the driver(s). Get at least the name, address and phone number. Look at the other driver’s license to verify their identity. I even recommend making a picture of the other driver’s license with your smartphone camera.

  2. Identifying information about the car that caused your accident. Note the vehicle’s make and model, as well as its license number (including the state). Get this information from the driver’s registration card. I recommend making photos of the registration card and the car.

  3. The name of each driver’s insurance company and their policy number. Verify this information by looking at, and photographing, the other driver’s insurance card.

It would also be a good idea to take a picture of each other driver (to help identify them later, if necessary).

If the other driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance card have inconsistent information – such as different addresses – reconcile the differences. If you can’t, call the police.

Of course, you have to give the other driver(s) this same information.

Record What Happened And Make Pictures

Write down everything you learn when exchanging information with the other driver(s). Don’t trust your memory or your smartphone camera.

Make photographs of the cars, preferably before they are moved so your photos will show their positions on the roadway after the collision.

Make pictures that show the damage on the vehicles.

As soon as possible after the collision, write the key facts of what happened. Make a diagram.

One final point. I’ve recommended taking pictures of relevant documents, things and even people. But don’t provoke a disturbance over this. If another driver objects, simply call the police and let them handle the uncooperative driver.