How to Find out If Someone Has Car Insurance
California law makes it mandatory for all drivers to carry at least $15,000 in individual bodily injury insurance, $30,000 in total accident bodily injury insurance and $5,000 in property damage liability insurance. Auto insurance provides proof of financial responsibility – establishing a driver’s ability to pay for an at-fault car accident. Unfortunately, hundreds of drivers in California drive without insurance. A collision with an uninsured driver could make it more difficult to obtain compensation for your damages, but a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help. Your first step toward recovery is often finding out if the other driver has insurance.
Ask While at the Scene
One of the easiest ways to ascertain a driver’s insurance information is to ask the owner of the vehicle for it directly while still at the scene of the car accident. Regardless of fault for the collision, it is common for both drivers to ask for the insurance information of the other. California Vehicle Code 20002 makes it mandatory for all drivers involved in a crash to stop as near to the scene as safely possible and exchange information with the other driver.
While the law does not require drivers to show proof of insurance to the other driver, most drivers will offer this information freely upon request. Ask to see the other driver’s insurance card. Write down the information on it or take a photo of the card. If the other driver refuses to show you proof of insurance, do not press him or her for this information. The police can obtain insurance information on your behalf instead.
Call the Police
Any car accident that results in personal injuries, fatalities or at least $1,000 in property damages requires immediate police reporting from the scene of the crash in California. Calling the police can help you as a crash victim by officially documenting key facts such as the other driver’s name, contact number and insurance information. The other driver will legally have to show proof of insurance to responding police officers. If the other driver does not have insurance, the police can issue a citation to prevent the driver from continuing to drive while uninsured.
It is important to call the police after a hit-and-run accident in California. If you can, write down the license plate number and a description of the vehicle that struck you. Give this information to the police to help them track down the culprit. The police can run a search on the license plate number to give you the at-fault driver’s insurance information. The police can also help you find out if the at-fault driver has enough car insurance to cover your damages.
Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles
If you did not obtain the other driver’s insurance information at the scene and do not call the police for assistance, the next step is to visit your county’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Your local DMV office may give you the other driver’s insurance information if you have a valid reason, such as being the victim of a hit-and-run car accident. Contact your local DMV to see if it has the other driver’s insurance information on file. You will need to give the office what information you have about the at-fault driver, as well as the reason for your request.
Call the Insurance Company
If you only have partial information about the driver’s insurance, such as the name of the insurance company but not a policy number, you might be able to call his or her insurer for more details. The driver’s insurance company could give you more information about coverage limits and whether you can obtain the damages owed. You may be able to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance provider even if the other driver disappears or refuses to answer your correspondence. If you still need more assistance finding out if someone has car insurance or getting the insurer to pay, hire a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.