Many people are not aware that California has strict confidentiality laws. This makes it important to get all of the information you need at the scene of the accident, instead of waiting to get it from the accident report. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you through the process. If you still have questions, call my office.
What personal information do I need from the other driver?
If you have been in a car accident, you need to find out the other driver’s full name and its exact spelling. You should also get an address, phone number, and even an email address. Anything you can use to track down the other driver is helpful. Additionally, you should either ask for a date of birth or get it from the driver's license. Just remember to ask for the most current information because the ID may have an old address.
What if they are from out of state?
You still need to take down the other driver’s personal information and should also ask whether the individual has moved to town or is just visiting, as well as where he or she is staying. A lot of people do not switch over their ID after moving to California, so this could be a way to trick you.
What DMV information do I need?
Look at the driver's license and write down the ID number. You should also write down the license plate number. It is also a wise idea to get the VIN number, though the other driver may not want to provide it to you. If you ask to see the other driver’s registration, it should be on there. This information will also be helpful when completing your accident report.
Do I need information on the other driver’s vehicle?
It is wise to do so. Documenting their names, addresses, phone numbers, ages, and the like can help you to identify anyone that could have been involved or witnessed the accident. Also, if other witnesses are around, gather their contact information as well
What insurance information do I need to gather?
As a car accident attorney, I always recommend that you see the other driver’s insurance card. This way, you can write down the name of the insurance company, the ID number, expiration, phone number, and the name of the insured. It may not be the driver, so this is important information to obtain. For example, if the actual driver is not the registered owner and insured, you need to know who is.
Do I have to get the passenger information as well?
It is wise to do so. Documenting their names, addresses, phone numbers, ages, and the like can help you to identify anyone that could have been involved or witnessed the accident. Also, if other witnesses are around, gather their contact information as well.
Will the officers give me their information?
Not always. You should ask for their names and badge numbers so that you can document who came to the scene. This may also help you track down the accident report later on.
Is there any other information I should gather?
Yes, look around you and document any information about the actual street, road conditions, weather, debris, and anything else that could have contributed to the crash.
When should I call an attorney?
Once you are safe, give my office a call. I can go over your options with you and begin to build your case.