After a car crash, one of the first and most important steps you should take after ensuring your safety is to get the insurance information of the other driver involved in the crash.
Unfortunately, this is sometimes easier said than done.
Requesting Someone Else’s Car Insurance Information After a Crash
The best and easiest way to get insurance information is to simply ask the other driver for it. It is usually helpful to take a picture of their insurance card with your phone’s camera – that way you will be sure to get all the important information without making any potential mistakes in copying it down.
You should also do the same with their driver’s license, vehicle registration card, and vehicle license plate.
If you did get their insurance information at the scene, but misplaced it after the fact, you can request a copy of the police report, which will include this information.
What to Do When the Other Driver Refuses to Give You Their Insurance Information
The best thing to do in this circumstance is sit tight and wait. When the police officer arrives to file the accident report, they will collect the other driver’s insurance information. You can then request that information from the police officer or find it in their accident report.
Tensions run high after an accident, so you should never escalate the situation by demanding the information and potentially starting a fight if the other driver is uncooperative, especially if you are already injured.
What to Do If You Decided Not to Contact the Police or Your Insurance, but Later Changed Your Mind
It happens all the time – when injuries or vehicle damage seem minor, both parties may agree to sort it out privately without involving insurance so they can avoid higher rates after a crash.
Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to determine the extent of your injuries or the cost of the damage to your vehicle at the scene. For example, what could seem like just a bruise could actually be torn ligaments requiring surgery to repair. This is why it’s important to always see a doctor after a crash to be evaluated, even if your injuries seem minor.
However, it is possible to file an insurance claim days after the accident, although there is a time limit. For most insurers, they require you to inform them of an accident within 7 days, although you should check your policy language to be sure. If you pass the time limit, expect to have your claim denied.
You may also be fined up to $100 or even face up to 60 days in jail if you fail to report a crash to the police within 24 hours, since Louisiana requires any crash resulting in injury or damage of more than $500 to be reported. To be safe, never leave the scene of an accident with suspected injuries or any amount of vehicle damage without calling 911 and waiting for police to arrive.
However, even if you left the scene without reporting the crash, the police or your insurance company should be able to help determine the other driver’s insurance carrier from the contact information you exchanged with them, if you did so intending to resolve it with the other party privately.
What to Do if the Other Driver Flees the Scene
Unfortunately, when the other driver flees the scene of an accident, getting their insurance information can be extremely difficult or even impossible.
Here’s what you can do to improve your chances.
- Write down what you can remember about their vehicle, especially the make, model, color, and license plate number, as well as any unique features, such as visible damage, modifications, and so on.
- Look around for witnesses. Speak to them to learn if they saw anything you may have missed, including what direction the vehicle left in. Get their contact information.
- Provide all this information to the police, your attorney, and your insurer.
Hopefully, the police will be able to identify the other driver in a post-accident investigation, and subsequently, their insurance details.
However, if the other driver can’t be identified, you can still apply for compensation through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or medical payments coverage, if your policy includes it.
When to Contact an Attorney for Help
As soon as a crash involves injuries, it starts to get complicated, so it never hurts to explore your legal options. It’s much better to have a lawyer on your side when your damages turn out to be bigger than you expect. In fact, the greater your damages, the less the insurance company will want to pay out on the claim, and the greater your need for experienced legal representation.
An experienced attorney can calculate what you are owed, work hard to prove you weren’t at fault for your accident, and take the claim to court if the insurance company still refuses to pay.
When You Need an Attorney, Call Dudley DeBosier
The Louisiana auto accident attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers know what to do after an accident, even when you weren’t able to collect the other driver’s insurance, to increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. And the sooner you put us on your case, the sooner we can take the stress of the crash off your shoulders.
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