You’ve just been in a Maryland car wreck and if you’ve taken my advice, you’ve immediately written down the other driver’s tag number and have called the police.

I now want you to safely exit your vehicle and approach the other vehicle. DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE UNTIL YOU’VE MOVED YOUR CAR OUT OF HARM’S WAY!! Be sure to move the car onto the shoulder, the grassy area, or the side of the road before exiting. Getting out of a motor vehicle that is sitting in the middle lane of a highway or busy intersection, especially at night, will get you killed!!

When you approach the other vehicle, you want to calmly ask the driver if you can get his or her driver’s license and insurance information. Yes, I know that the police have been called. But what if the police don’t show (not uncommon in Baltimore City) or the other driver speeds off before the police arrive? The at fault driver might be driving uninsured or on a suspended license and may want to “get out of Dodge”. Or the other driver just might be in a hurry and not want to wait around (in non serious Maryland auto collisions the police can take over 30 minutes to show up).

You also want to personally get the defendant’s information because in the craziness of the moment you might forget to take down the tag number. No matter what, it’s always good to be safe

Therefore, make sure you copy the name, address, date of birth, and license number off the driver’s license. Then ask to see the other driver’s insurance card. Get the name of the insurance company and the policy number. Then thank the defendant and go back to your car and wait for the police.

Oh, also write down a description of the at fault driver. If you’re unable to resolve your auto accident claim with the insurance company you someday might have to have the defendant served with court papers. Your process server will thank you.

If, at any time, the defendant gets nasty and refuses to give up information just back off and wait for help to come. Whether the police arrive or not, you’ll be okay because you’ve taken my advice and written down the tag number.

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