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Does California law require you to exchange insurance information after an accident?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 06, 2018 | 0 Comments

california auto accident attorneys
Under California Vehicle Code 16025, drivers must share and exchange insurance information after an auto accident.

Under California Vehicle Code 16025, drivers must share and exchange insurance information after an auto accident. The only exception is for when a driver is rendered incapable of doing so because of the accident.

In addition, VC 16025 requires a driver to share the following information:

  • his name and current address,
  • his driver's license number,
  • his car's vehicle identification number, and
  • the address of the owner of the vehicle.

A person that does not comply with the above will be guilty of an infraction that is punishable by a maximum fine of $250. Note that court fees will be added to this fine; and therefore, a driver may ultimately owe close to $1,000.

What is required under Vehicle Code 16025?

VC 16025 states that, following a motor vehicle accident, the drivers involved must share with one another evidence of their “financial responsibility.”

According to California Vehicle Code 16020 VC, evidence of “financial responsibility” includes the following:

  • a driver's insurance card,
  • a certificate of self-insurance (if the car owner is self-insured), or
  • a showing that a driver's vehicle is owned or leased by the United States or a public entity.

If evidence of financial responsibility is proven via an insurance card, then a driver must exchange the name and address of his insurance company and the number of his insurance policy.

The rule requiring a driver to share insurance information does not apply to any driver that is:

  1. incapable of exchanging the information,
  2. because of the accident.

Vehicle Code 16025 also states that a driver in an accident must provide the following information to any other drivers in the accident:

  • his name and address,
  • his driver's license number,
  • his car's vehicle identification number, and
  • the address of the owner of the vehicle.

What happens for a violation of Vehicle Code 16025?

Two things happen if a driver does not comply with VC 16025. These are:

  1. the driver is charged with an infraction; and,
  2. the driver must pay a maximum fine of $250.

Please note that court fees will ultimately get added to any fine assessed. This means that a person who violates VC 16025 could face a final monetary penalty of close to $1,000.

Please also note that no points are assessed to a driver's DMV driving record if he violates Vehicle Code 16025.

Finally, a driver must not ignore a California ticket for not exchanging insurance information. If he does, the driver risks getting charged with failure to appear, per California Vehicle Code 40508. Failure to appear, under California law, may be charged as a misdemeanor.

How safe are California's roadways?

The State of California is notorious for crowded roads that produce a large number of automobile accidents. Consider, for a moment, that there were 490,168 reported car crashes in California in 2016. This number resulted in 3,842 deaths and 278,585 injuries.

California now accounts for 12% of the nation's auto deaths.

The most dangerous California counties for car accidents are:

  • Los Angeles,
  • Orange,
  • San Diego,
  • San Bernardino, and
  • Riverside.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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