The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be very tense, with lots of emotions coming to the surface. Some drivers may make this difficult situation worse by becoming hostile and refusing to share their insurance information.
Even though obtaining insurance information is an essential step in filing an accident claim, another driver’s refusal to share insurance and registration information is no reason to panic. It is possible for you to get everything you need even if the driver refuses to cooperate and show you his or her insurance card.
Report the Accident to the Police
After an accident, you should always call 911 and report the accident —even before exchanging insurance information. It is critical to call the police to the scene of the accident and have them document the accident. The police will write up a report describing the accident and how it occurred. The report will contain details such as:
- The time and place of the accident
- Both drivers’ contact information
- Road conditions at the time of the crash
- Factors that may have contributed to the accident
The insurance companies representing the drivers involved in the accident will use this police report to decide which driver they think was liable for causing the crash. In addition to writing the accident report, the police will also be able to obtain the insurance information you need if the other driver refuses to cooperate.
Remain Calm and Wait for the Police to Arrive
If the other driver is being difficult and will not give you his or her insurance information, you should avoid making the situation worse by getting into a heated confrontation. It is natural for emotions to run high after an accident, but you don’t want to get yourself into trouble.
Ideally, the other driver will cooperate with you right away, but if not, getting in a heated argument will not accomplish anything.
Remain calm and wait for the police to respond. When the police officers arrive and speak to each of you, they will collect insurance information from both parties and pass it along. While you are waiting, talk to any witnesses you see and be sure to take plenty of pictures of the scene of the accident.
The other driver cannot refuse to provide certain information when the police request it, so you simply need to be patient and wait for the police to get the information you need. Make sure to inform the police officers that the other driver refused to share his or her insurance information, so they know that they will need to pass it along to you.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Once you finally have the other driver’s insurance information, you can move ahead with the claims process. The first step in this process is to report the accident to your own insurance company. They will ask for the other driver’s information and will talk to the other insurance company themselves while they try to determine fault.
This determination will be based on the factors leading up to the accident, many of which are described in the police report. Both companies will look to protect their bottom line, so they may be some pushback about which driver is at fault.
Consider Your Legal Options
The other driver’s insurance company may not offer you a fair settlement right away if you were injured in an accident caused by another motorist. If you wish to hold the other driver financially accountable for causing your injuries, you should contact a lawyer to discuss your options.
If you are represented by an experienced lawyer, an experienced lawyer can improve your chances of getting a fair settlement from the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company should recognize that the insurer is more likely to end up in court if the company representatives refuse to make a fair settlement offer.
Dealing with Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers
There is a chance that the reason the other driver refused to share insurance information is because he or she either has no insurance or the policy will not cover the damage to your vehicle and your medical bills.
Driving without auto liability insurance is illegal in Colorado, but some people do so anyway. If the other driver turns out to be uninsured, the police will let you know.
If you are unfortunate enough to be hit by an uninsured driver, you will need to review your insurance policy to determine whether you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you do, you may need to file a claim with your own insurance company.
You will need to file an uninsured motorist (UM) claim to recover compensation for your losses. If the other driver has insurance but not enough coverage to cover your losses, you will have to file an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim under your own policy.
Colorado law requires that insurance companies offer UM and UIM coverage to all new and renewing customers. Many drivers have this UM/UIM coverage unless they specifically declined it.
If you did not choose a policy that includes UM or UIM coverage, you might be out of luck. You can still file a claim with your own insurance if you have collision coverage, but the money you would otherwise seek from the other driver’s insurance will be unavailable to you without filing a lawsuit.
An experienced uninsured/underinsured accident lawyer can help you navigate the UM or UIM claims process, as well as the rest of your insurance claim.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Colorado Today
If you have been hurt or if your property has been damaged in a car accident and the other driver is being uncooperative, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you need from the at-fault driver. At The Sawaya Law Firm, our Denver car accident attorneys have years of experience fighting for crash victims throughout the state. To schedule your free consultation and get started on your case, call us now at (720) 709-2802.