According to the Maine Department of Transportation, between 2011 and 2015, there was an average of one personal injury crash every 56 minutes and one property damage crash every 24 minutes. There was an average of 30,482 accidents per year on Maine’s public roads.
Maine law mandates that drivers carry liability insurance to cover physical injury and property damage for which they are responsible. The minimum required limits are:
- $50,000 for the injury or death of one person
- $100,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
- $2,000 medical payment coverage
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in an amount equal to the personal injury liability coverage
A combined single limit of $125,000 will satisfy the minimum state requirements for liability coverage. The question is: if someone hits you with a motor vehicle, how do you find out if the driver is insured?
Ask The Other Driver
This should be your first option. Whenever two or more drivers are involved in a collision, it’s common practice to exchange insurance information. Use your phone to take pictures of the other driver’s insurance details or, if your phone is inoperable after an accident, write down the following:
- The driver’s name, contact information, and license plate number of the vehicle
- The name of the insurance company
- The insurance policy number
Be calm and civil when asking someone for insurance information, and be ready to present your own insurance information to the other driver.
Ideally, everyone should be willing to cooperate with exchanging insurance information. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen that way. If the other driver refuses or is unable to give you insurance information, or if the other driver is verbally aggressive or simply drives away, what should you do?
Notify The Police
You are legally required to report an accident in areas of public traffic if anyone is hurt or killed or if the property damage appears to be $1,000 or more. Failure to do so is a Class E crime punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and possible loss or suspension of one’s license or registration. Even if you are unsure whether anyone is injured or whether the property damage approaches $1,000, you can still notify the police of the accident.
When the police arrive, they will take statements and request proof of insurance. If the other driver refused to provide you with insurance information, let the police obtain the information.
The official crash report will provide information about the cause of the accident, road conditions at the time, the names and vehicle types of all participants, and confirmation that each person has the required amount of liability insurance for his or her vehicle. You or your personal injury lawyer can obtain a copy of the official crash report to assist you in identifying the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If the other driver doesn’t wait for the police to arrive, try to get the license plate number and the make and model of the car. Take a picture, if possible. When the police arrive, report the incident as a hit and run and provide whatever license plate and vehicle information you were safely able to obtain. Law enforcement will be able to use those details to identify the car that hit you and to track down the driver and get insurance information.
What If The At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If you get into a collision with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or who cannot be identified, you have coverage under your own vehicle insurance. Maine law requires you to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that equals your own liability policy limits unless you specifically elect lower limits in writing. This coverage protects you if the at-fault driver is uninsured or has policy limits lower than your own.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Being injured in a motor vehicle accident is stressful enough without worrying about tracking down elusive driver insurance information. The experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys at Fales & Fales, P.A. can identify and deal with the right insurer on your behalf while you focus on healing. For more information, please contact us.