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What to do if a driver won’t hand over information after crash

Published August 21, 2012
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Eric Lai answers readers’ auto questions every week for Wheels.

Q: In a parking lot, my right rear door got dinged by a Honda parked to my right. I wrote down the plate number and asked for their licence and insurance information, but they refused.

I called the police non-emergency number and they told me, by law, the driver has to provide that information.

I advised the people in the Honda of this but both ignored me. When I said that leaves me no choice but to call police, they said to go ahead.

I can’t believe someone would do that. I know it’s a comprehensive claim and likely not worth claiming on my insurance because of the deductible but this really upset me. I drove to the nearest collision centre and reported this incident.

Do you think the Ministry will do anything about this couple refusing to disclose their driver’s licence and insurance information?

A: Basically, you’re asking what to do when the other party in a collision refuses to provide their licence and insurance information as required by law.

The answer is not to get into a verbal or physical altercation with the other driver, but rather, to do exactly as you did and write down the plate number and call police. If police won’t be attending the scene, report the incident at a police station or collision reporting centre.

Because of the minor nature of the incident, a “door ding” with damage under $1,000, it’s considered a non-reportable collision, so charges from police are unlikely. Even more so, since it occurred on private property as opposed to a public road.

As for making an insurance claim, my mother’s car was recently rear-ended and, since the other driver was deemed 100 per cent at fault, mom received a full payout for repairs with no deductible applied. So, in your case, you may want to check with your insurer before absorbing the repair cost yourself.

Steve Kee, director of media relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, adds:

This reader did the right thing taking the plate information and reporting the incident to police.

By law, any collision where damage exceeds $1,000 must be reported to police. You should also report any collisions to your insurance company.

Insurance fault determination rules apply even in parking lots. If both vehicles were moving, it’s 50:50. If the impacted auto was stationary, it’s 100 per cent on the other driver.

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