When an auto accident occurs, all parties involved are required to share insurance information so claims can be filed. Unfortunately, sometimes liable parties don't want to pay for damages they caused and will avoid giving anything useful. However, here are a few things you can do to get insurance information about an uncooperative party.
Call the Police
Even if you're only involved in a minor fender bender, it's important to report the incident to the police. This protects you in a couple of ways. There will be a record of the accident on file, which prevents the liable party from denying one occurred. The police will also note relevant information about the accident that can help your case, such as whether the defendant was intoxicated.
Above all, though, police can be very instrumental in making the liable party turn over insurance information. It's illegal to drive a vehicle without proper insurance, and doing so can net offenders jail time and fines of $500 or more. Thus, an uncooperative party will give the info to avoid incurring more legal problems.
In many areas, cops can verify whether an insurance policy is active or not. So, be sure to have the officer do that before the other driver leaves the scene. If you have to sue the liable party directly because they're uninsured, you'll need to contact an attorney right away who can help you determine whether the person has enough money to pay.
Contact the DMV
Sometimes police won't come to the scene of an accident, unfortunately, especially when the damage is minor and there are no injuries or fatalities. In this instance, you may have to do some detective work on your own. If you were able to capture the perpetrator's license plate or vehicle identification number (VIN), you could get the information you need from the DMV.
Depending on where you live, the DMV will tell you whether someone is insured or not, as long as you have a good reason for asking. You may not get any personal data, such as the person's address or phone number, but the office may give you the name of the insurance company and the policy number.
You may need to submit a police report proving an accident occurred. So, if the police didn't come to the scene of the accident, be sure to file a report with them before going to the DMV.
Alternatively, you can provide the information to your own insurance company who will do the work for you, which is great if you live in a state where the DMV is not as cooperative.
Contact an Attorney
Your third option is to contact a car accident attorney for assistance, particularly if details about the liable party are scarce. Lawyers have access to a number of tools and services that can help you locate insurance information about someone who caused an accident and refuses to make things right.
For instance, if you weren't able to get the person's license plate, the attorney can request access to any cameras in the area that may have recorded it. Using that, the attorney can then go to the DMV and obtain the perpetrator's insurance info.
Getting the insurance information is only one step in the process of being compensated for the damages related to the auto accident. You still need to negotiate with the insurance adjuster and make your case for compensation.
While you can do this on your own, you're much more likely to get what you want if you have an attorney assisting you in the process because they know the tricks insurance companies like to pull and will help you avoid them.
For help with your auto accident case, contact a local lawyer.