Between 15% and 26% of California drivers are uninsured, according to a report from the Insurance Research Council. Some drivers, however, will not own up to being uninsured after an accident and instead provide fraudulent information. Often, it can take days to discover this deception, only raising the stakes for an insurance claim in the process. False information does not mean the other party is liable for their own damages, nor does it mean that the provider will escape without consequences.
In the Event of an Accident
After every accident, no matter how small it may seem, file a police report and gather information. Obviously, if the other driver provides false insurance and contact information, this half of the information will prove useless. On the other hand, a police report will be an excellent reference tool for your insurance company, and the other driver cannot lie about their tag number. This process makes it easier to manage a fraudulent information case should his or her insurance information prove to be a lie.
Another reason to file a police report immediately is that the police should investigate whether the other driver has insurance in the first place. This can save time and energy trying to discover fraudulent information. The police will also determine whether that person is uninsured, or simply providing deceptive information – either way, this determination should be quick.
How Insurance Claims Handle False Information
California auto insurance policies are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage. The purpose of this coverage is to compensate drivers if the other party lacks any – or enough – auto insurance to cover damages. Usually, it is a quick and simple process to discover the lack of coverage but, if the other driver provides false information, an uninsured motorist claim will still cover it – assuming he or she does not have an actual insurance policy.
Insurance agents recommend filing a claim regardless of the other party’s deception. As California follows comparative fault laws, insurance policies will typically cover at least some collision damages for an accident – minus the company’s deductible – even if the other party is unavailable due to fraudulent information. It is important to file this claim as soon as you discover the deception, ideally within 30 days of the accident.
It may still be necessary to track down the other driver in the event of an accident, even if an uninsured motorist claim or collision coverage claim pays for most damages. It is vitally important in any accident to gather information and witnesses, and the plate number is incredibly valuable in this situation.
If the other driver’s information proves to be fraudulent, it may be possible to track their information by running a tag search through insurance or police records. Failing to provide insurance information is a legal offense and that person is at fault for fraudulent information, regardless of the outcome of the accident or insurance claims. Once you discover the deception, it is important to file another police report about the fraud. The authorities will investigate the claim from there, tracking down the other driver.
Should authorities find this person, it may also prove possible to pursue the other driver’s damage coverage in small claims court, although if he or she is uninsured, it is possible that the other person has no funds to pay. This, however, depends entirely on finding the other driver – something which may not always be possible, depending on the information gathered at the time of the accident. It is also a good idea to contact an Orange County car accident lawyer to represent the case.