You’re injured, hurting, and need compensation to support your post-accident recovery. So if you didn’t cause the crash, who pays for these costs? Mississippi is an “at-fault” state for car accident liability. This means that whoever is responsible for causing a crash is also responsible for any related damages or costs incurred by victims. These costs are generally covered by the at-fault party’s auto insurer.
However, in the confusion that so often follows an accident, do you know how to find out if someone has car insurance?
Let’s review the steps you can take to determine whether the driver who hit you has auto insurance coverage.
Ask Them at the Scene of the Accident
Mississippi motorists are required to exchange the following information after an accident:
- Names and addresses
- Phone numbers
- Insurance information (including the name of the company, policy number, and phone number)
If you’ve been involved in an accident, speak with the other driver directly and ask for the above information. You may also ask for their contact information, such as a phone number or email. Carefully write down all information they provide and store it in a safe place. Double-check that everything is correct, as certain information (including insurance policy numbers) may be complex or case-sensitive.
Check the Accident Report
Although required by law, there may be situations in which the exchange of information is not feasible. If you or the other driver was transported to the hospital in an ambulance, the other driver refused to provide the necessary information, or you were involved in a hit-and-run in which the driver was identified soon after, you may have been unable to get any information about their insurance while still at the accident scene.
The police accident report should contain information about the other party’s auto insurance coverage, including the name of the company and the policy number. You may request a copy of your accident report online, through the mail from the Driver Records Division, or in person at a local Mississippi Highway Patrol office or with the local police department that governs the area where the crash happened.
Speak With the Auto Insurer
Getting things 100% right in the aftermath of a car crash isn’t always easy. When a person is involved in a car accident, their body releases a significant amount of adrenaline (also known as the “fight or flight” hormone). While this hormone is crucial to self-preservation, it can also impact your ability to think rationally during what is an otherwise traumatizing event.
If you’re not thinking straight, there’s a chance that you might not obtain all of the information you need following an accident. You may not even realize it until later when you’ve had time to calm down. If you only wrote down partial information, such as the name of the auto insurer without the policy number, you can contact the auto insurer directly with as much information as you have. Explain that you were involved in an accident with their policyholder, but do not provide more information than that—anything more will be sorted out during the injury claim process.
Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles
You may also be able to obtain the other driver’s insurance information by contacting your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Explain the situation that you’re in, and provide them with as much information as possible about the other driver, such as name, license plate number, or driver’s license number.
What if I Was Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
Mississippi state law allows accident victims to recover compensation for their financial, physical, and emotional damages from the driver who hit and injured them. For this reason, every vehicle owner is required by law to maintain minimum liability coverage. Unfortunately, many motorists have either insufficient coverage or no coverage at all. In fact, Mississippi had the highest rate of uninsured motorists in the entire nation in 2019.
State law requires that every auto insurance policy offered in Mississippi come with UM/UIM coverage, although motorists have the right to reject this coverage in writing. Minimum coverage requirements are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
This insurance covers you and anyone else who may have been in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Situations that may call for using your UM/UIM coverage include if:
- You were involved in a hit-and-run accident.
- The driver who hit you was uninsured.
- The driver who hit you had insurance coverage, but not enough to cover your related damages.
Don’t count on your insurance company making the process of filing a UM/UIM claim easy. It doesn’t matter that you’re a policyholder with their company—insurers are in the business of making money, not helping people.
What if I Still Can’t Find Out if the Driver Who Hit Me Has Car Insurance?
If you were injured in a car accident, you know who hit you, but you still aren’t sure if they have insurance coverage, Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC can help. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge needed to help you determine who the at-fault party was, whether they were insured, and what your legal options for financial recovery are.
As a law office that is dedicated to standing up for those who have been harmed by the negligence of others, we don’t charge injury victims for a free consultation. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to schedule your free consultation.
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