The other driver gave me their insurance card and that is all the information I have.
People normally think that the most important information to get after an accident is the insurance information. Nothing can be farther from the truth. In fact, the most important information to get from a car accident is the other drivers:
- Telephone number
- Date of birth
- Driver’s license number. If you can get a picture of the other driver’s license, that would also be helpful.
That is not to say that the insurance information is irrelevant. It is relevant and very important. But the identity and contact information of the other driver is the most important information to get.
So, why do I need the other driver’s personal information? Because the other driver is the one who is the primary party in your claim for damages or injuries.
You actually have a liability claim, not an insurance claim.
What’s the difference? When you are making a claim with your own insurance company, this is called a “first-party” claim. For instance, if you get into a car accident and make a claim on your own policy to get your car fixed, that is an example of a first-party claim.
But, when you are making a claim against someone else’s insurance, that is called a “third-party” claim. It is also known as a “liability claim.” Essentially, you are claiming that the other driver is liable to you for damages or injuries sustained in the accident.
The insurance company merely intervenes on the other driver’s behalf in order to determine whether their driver has any liability. If so, the insurance company has a duty to defend the other driver.
So, do not make mistake of thinking that the the other insurance company is working for you. They are not. The other insurance company is actually handling the claim on behalf of their driver. That is because the other driver is actually the covered person under the policy, not you.
Therefore, getting only the insurance information is not enough.
If you are unable to settle your claim with the other driver’s insurance company, you will probably have to file a lawsuit.
When it comes time to file the suit, you must file it against the other driver. You cannot sue the insurance company. That is because Texas is not a “direct action” state.
Instead, Texas law requires that you file the suit against the other driver. So, if you do not have the driver’s personal information, you will have a difficult time filing the lawsuit and serving the court papers.
And don’t count on the driver’s insurance company to help you. Like I said before, the insurance company is required to act on behalf of the other driver, not you.
The other insurance company is obligated to defend the claim.
If you know who the other driver is, then the lawsuit can be properly filed. Then you will find out very quickly where the other insurance company’ loyalties are.
Once the suit is filed and the other driver is served with the court papers, the insurance company will then hire and pay for an attorney to defend the other driver. So, the insurance company that you thought was there to protect you is actually protecting the other driver.
In fact, if you cannot settle your case and have to go to court, you are not allowed to mention the other insurance company at trial. You cannot say anything about the other driver having insurance, nor can you mention any of your dealings with the insurance company. All the judge or jury can hear about are the circumstances surrounding the accident and the evidence of your injuries.
Get the help you need as soon as possible.
Robert C. Slim has been representing victims of accidental injuries in the Dallas and Fort Worth area since 1994. You are not doing yourself any favor by trying to handle legal matters without the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney. And, the earlier you get an attorney, the better things are for your case.
The consultation is absolutely free and you will speak with Robert Slim, personally. If you are injured in a car accident give yourself the opportunity to know all your options before deciding how to move forward with your case.