September 28th, 2020|
In addition to calling the police to file a report and getting medical treatment, one of the most important things you can do immediately after an auto accident is getting the other driver’s contact information and auto insurance details. That’s because filing a compensation claim means you’ll most likely be compensated through their insurance policy and not directly from their bank account if they are found to be at fault.
Unfortunately, not all car accidents make it easy for victims to simply exit their vehicles, walk over to the other driver(s), and calmly exchange information. Many car accident victims suffer serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. Other times, victims may encounter uncooperative drivers who refuse to tell them the information they need, deflect blame, or even leave the scene.
Getting insurance information is essential, but it can sometimes be a challenge. This post can help you take the necessary steps to get the information you need, so you can pursue the compensation you’re owed.
What Information Do You Need from the Other Driver?
First, it’s important to know exactly what information you need from the other driver. It’s not much, and they should have it on hand to make the process take no more than just a few minutes:
- Their full name
- Their auto insurance provider name and contact phone number
- Their insurance policy number and expiration date
- Their vehicle information, including its make, model, color, and license plate number
You should also take pictures of the crash scene, both (as well as any additional) vehicles, their insurance card, and their license plate before you leave the area, just in case any of that information was transcribed incorrectly. If the crash involved multiple vehicles, get contact information from all drivers.
What Are Potential Snags to Getting this Info—And How Do You Deal with Them?
Now that you know what information you need, the easiest way to get it is simply approaching the other driver(s) and asking for it. But there are many scenarios where that can be difficult or impossible, such as:
- The other driver left the scene—This is a hit-and-run, and it’s a serious crime in Ohio. Call the police immediately after the crash, and give the responding police officer as much information about the other vehicle as you can. If you can remember its make, model, color, or partial license plate information, those details can help police track down the driver. Witnesses also may be able to provide information. If the driver is located, you can later contact the police to get their identifying information, which can be used to get their insurance details. If the other driver can’t be identified, however, you may still be able to get compensation through your insurance as a last resort.
- The other driver is uncooperative—Auto accidents can be stressful and traumatic, and not everyone responds cordially to the other drivers involved. If the person who hit you is being uncooperative or won’t give you their name or insurance information, don’t press the issue. Instead, wait for the police to arrive. The other driver will be required by law to cooperate with the responding officer before they’re allowed to leave the scene, and the information obtained in the accident report can be used to obtain the insurance details you’re looking for.
- The other driver’s insurance information doesn’t add up—You got insurance details from the other driver, but upon closer inspection, something isn’t right. The name they provided isn’t the name on the insurance card. Or maybe the policy they shared with you is expired or covers another vehicle. This could be an honest mistake, as they may have been driving someone else’s vehicle but are still covered under its insurance policy. Provided you got their contact information, you or your insurer should be able to sort out the mistake when it’s time to proceed with your claim.
- The other driver doesn’t have insurance—Although auto insurance is required in Ohio, not all drivers have it. If the other driver is uninsured, that doesn’t mean you should let them off the hook or give up on getting compensation from them. You should still get their contact information, including their driver’s license number. This information could be important later when you file your claim, as your insurer will want proof that the other driver was uninsured at the time of the crash.
- The other driver is seriously injured—Car accidents can cause serious injuries, and that means the other driver may be too hurt to give you the info they need. They may even be unconscious or trapped in their vehicle. However, it’s still up to the police to get as much information about drivers as possible after crashes, and that includes getting identifying details of seriously injured drivers. After leaving the scene, you can contact your local police department, highway safety office, or sheriff’s office to get a copy of the accident report and the other driver’s contact info.
Don’t Forget to Report the Crash to Your Insurance Provider
All auto insurance providers require their policyholders to report crashes to them shortly after they occur—often with 24 to 48 hours. That requirement is in effect even if the policyholder wasn’t at fault.
Don’t waste any time when it comes to contacting your insurer, even if the other driver caused the crash and is insured. There’s still a chance you may need to pursue compensation from your own insurance policy, and if you wait too long to report the accident, it could jeopardize your chances of getting paid.
Let Us Help You Get the Money You’re Owed
At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we know how important it is to get contact and insurance information from at-fault drivers. Without it, it can be difficult to move forward with a compensation claim. But even if you hit a snag and are unable to get that information—or the information you receive is inaccurate or incomplete—doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.
Our Ohio auto accident lawyers have years of experience helping people get the money they’re owed, regardless of whether their claims go off without a hitch or are filled with pitfalls and obstacles. Contact us today—you deserve the peace of mind we can offer.