What to Do if the Other Driver Refuses to Share Their Insurance Information

In the aftermath of a car accident, one critical step is the exchange of insurance information between parties involved. However, the situation becomes particularly complex when the other motorist refuses to share their insurance information. Such incidents can leave you feeling frustrated and uncertain about how to proceed, especially when you’re facing potential injuries, vehicle damage, and the looming costs of medical care and repairs. Understanding your rights and the best steps to take in this difficult situation is crucial for protecting your interests and ensuring you’re not left shouldering the financial burden alone.

Under Cal. Veh. Code § 16025, motorists must share information such as the other driver’s full name and address, driver’s license number, vehicle identification number (VIN), and other relevant insurance information. If the other motorist refuses, it is best to contact law enforcement right away, take photos and videos of identifying information, and speak with an experienced car accident attorney to understand your legal options.

Is Refusing to Share Insurance Information Legal in California?

In California, it’s essential to be aware of what the law expects from drivers following a vehicle accident. According to the California Vehicle Code § 16025, drivers must exchange specific information at the accident scene, including the following:

  • The driver’s name and address,
  • The vehicle owner’s name and address if different,
  • Driver’s license number,
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and
  • Insurance details, including the insurer’s name and policy number.

Even if you’re unable to obtain the other driver’s information at the scene, you can still proceed with filing a claim through your insurance. Most policies cover incidents involving uninsured drivers or in cases where the other driver cannot be identified.

Consequences for Not Sharing Insurance Information

Drivers who refuse to share their insurance information after an accident in California are violating the law and can be fined up to $250 for this infraction.

Leaving the scene without fulfilling these obligations leads to harsher penalties. If the collision only resulted in property damages, the responsible driver faces misdemeanor charges, which could result in up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000.

For accidents causing injuries or death, fleeing the scene escalates the charge to a felony. Depending on the severity of the accident and the court’s judgment, the guilty party may face prison time ranging from two to four years and fines between $1,000 and $10,000.

What Should You Do if a Driver Refuses to Share Insurance Information?

If you find yourself in a situation where the other driver is unwilling to share their insurance information, you can take the following steps:

Calmly Inform Them About the Legal Requirements

If the other driver hesitates to provide their insurance details, approach the matter with calmness and explain to them about their legal responsibilities. It’s important to let them know that, as per the law, they’re obligated to share this information after being involved in an accident.

Emphasize that exchanging insurance information is a routine procedure following any car accident in California, and ensure you do so respectfully yet assertively.

Always Call the Police Following an Accident

Immediately contacting the police after an accident is crucial, particularly if the other party is not forthcoming with their information. An official police report is invaluable for establishing the facts of the collision and determining fault.

Police officers will document the scene, gather statements from everyone involved, and collect any witness testimonies, which will be essential evidence for your insurance claim or any legal proceedings.

Document Everything You Can

Try to gather as much information as possible about the at-fault party’s vehicle, such as its make, model, color, and license plate number. If it’s safe to do so, take pictures of the vehicle and its license plate.

Also, jot down any details about the driver who is refusing to cooperate, including their appearance and anything else notable that could help in locating them later if necessary.

Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney

If your efforts to explain the legal obligations are met with refusal, it might be time to seek legal counsel. Consulting with personal injury lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. about California’s traffic laws can provide you with the guidance you need on how to proceed.

The legal team can help you obtain the other driver’s details through their vehicle registration or license plate number. Additionally, your auto insurance company might be able to help identify the responsible party.

Speak With the Sacramento Car Accident Lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp.

If you were in the unfortunate situation of another driver refusing to exchange insurance information or fleeing the scene of an accident, you may have avenues for recourse. The lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. will help you understand your rights, assist in tracking down the responsible party, and ensure that you recover the compensation you deserve for damages. We handle negotiations with insurance companies and, if necessary, represent you in court to advocate on your behalf.

Don’t let the wrongful actions of another driver hinder your path to recovery. Contact one of our car accident lawyers today at (916) 970-9100 or fill out a contact form.