Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, P.A.

Baltimore Law Blog

In the fast-paced world Maryland residents live in, it is sometimes easy to forget just how precious life can be. When tragedy strikes, however, people are reminded quickly.

This was the case recently for the family of an 18-year-old Maryland woman who died in a car accident. The woman was driving in her 1999 Saturn when she suddenly crossed the center lane of the highway and hit another driver. The car collision worsened when the woman continued down the wrong way of the road and collided head on with another vehicle. The latter vehicle caught fire, although its two occupants were able to escape without life-threatening injuries.

The woman driving the Saturn was not as fortunate, however, as she was pronounced dead at the scene. Police remained puzzled by what caused her to veer across the center lane, and they will proceed with an accident investigation to determine the cause.

Typically, after most auto accidents, a police report is produced that documents the facts of the incident and makes a preliminary determination of fault. For instance, the officer preparing the report may record his observations about one driver violating a traffic law or driving recklessly.

If litigation develops after a car accident, police reports are a valuable source of information for parties to use, even if they may not ultimately be admissible in court. For example, the officer's fault determination might be used for leverage in settlement discussions between parties. In addition, the officer likely documented witnesses to the incident, which the parties can use in developing their legal case.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "One killed, another to shock trauma following three-car accident in Joppa," Kayla Bawroski, Aug. 16, 2012

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