If you have been in a collision there is certain information you need to exchange with the other parties. In California, by law, under Vehicle Code section 16025, you must exchange:
1. Driver’s name
2. Driver’s current residence address
3. Driver’s license number
4. Vehicle identification number
5. Owner’s name
6. Owner’s current residence address
7. Evidence of financial responsibility, such as company name, address, and policy number of valid automobile insurance
If you do not exchange this information, you can be charged with violation of this code section and fined. Some people type up this information on an index card that they can hand to somebody, but I would be wary of just accepting something like that at face value. People move, owners change, and policies can lapse. An up-to-date proof of insurance card holds more weight.
Also, you should write down the information yourself if possible. Take notes on your phone if you do not have pen or paper. You can even send yourself a quick e-mail with the information so you have it in two places. If you allow them to write it down for you, they may lie, transpose numbers, or purposely give you the wrong information. Ask to see their driver’s license and write down the information. Be sure to note if the license is valid because those expire too.
This list is only what is required by law. If you are in a collision, we recommend you get as much information at possible. It becomes much easier later on if you know exactly who hit you. Once a case is filed, the Defendant needs to be personally served. In order to do that we need to know where they live. It can be expensive to hire a private investigator to hunt these people down, so it is a good idea to get the information when the collision happens.
Laskin Balma Attorneys at Law has designed a fillable form to make this sometimes awkward process easier. You can print it off and keep in your car. If you do happen to get in a collision, fill it out, and you will have a head start. If you are hurt, call us, and we’ll help you.