Location and time
When and where your accident happened in West Virginia can be found on the top of the first page. This information might seem straightforward, but it’s important to make sure the exact date, time and location of your accident is accurate. Otherwise, an insurance company could challenge your accident claim based on inaccurate information.
Where and type of accident
Listed as “relation to junction” and “manner of collision,” this part of the accident report states where your accident happened and what type of motor vehicle accident you were involved in. Relation to junction simply refers to whether your crash happened at or near an intersection. Manner of collision can include rear-end, head-on and other types of crashes. Carefully review this information. If you notice any errors, an attorney can help you set the record straight.
Cause of crash
Weather (sleet, snow, rain, etc.) and road conditions (standing water, wet, dry, etc.) often play a role in the cause of a motor vehicle crash. So can the “first harmful event” in a crash, which may include a vehicle “overturn/rollover,” “fire/explosion” or a vehicle “jackknife.” You know what happened. Make sure information on this part of the report is correct.
The condition of the road where your accident took place may have been a contributing circumstance. Whether it’s “ruts, holes, bumps” in the road or an “obstruction in roadway,” this information should be noted on this part of your accident report.
One of the most important parts of your accident report, this section includes the investigating police officer’s description of what happened. Insurance companies carefully review this part of the report. If you disagree with the police officer’s description, it’s important that you provide your own narrative of what happened. A lawyer can help you do this important work.
A drawing of the crash scene can be found here. How the vehicles are positioned in the drawing can be very important. Insurance companies often base decisions – including whether to approve or deny an accident claim – based on the crash diagram. If you disagree with the diagram, voice your concerns. Talk to an attorney. They can assist you and be your voice with insurance companies and law enforcement officials.
Page 3 and 4
The names of the owners of all the vehicles involved in your crash – along with the make and model information about the vehicles – can be found here. Additional information about large vehicles – including commercial trucks and buses – should be listed here as well.
Vehicle damage and maneuvers
If your vehicle sustained serious damage in your crash, this information should be listed in the section titled “extent of damage.” This part of the accident report also states whether you or another driver took evasive action to avoid a collision. This information can be found in the section named “crash avoidance maneuver.”
Crash events and diagrams
A “crash event” as defined by this official accident report can be a sequence of different events, including “equipment failure,” a vehicle overturning, an animal in the road or a traffic barrier. There are also five different, circular vehicle diagrams for the investigating police officer to choose from when filling out the report. Each diagram applies to a different type of vehicle, including a single car, motorcycle, bus, tractor-trailer or car with a towing unit.
The driver’s name, address, phone number and driver’s license number can be found here. If the driver does not have a valid driver’s license, the status of their license should be noted here, as well. This information might seem straightforward, but it’s critical that everything is accurate and up to date.
Drug or alcohol use
If the driver who caused your crash was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this information should be included on the report. If you believe the driver was intoxicated but it does not say so on this part of the report, make sure you voice your concerns. The status of your insurance claim or lawsuit could be dramatically influenced depending on whether insurance companies and investigators know that an impaired driver caused your crash.
Many times, drivers responsible for causing a collision are cited by police for a traffic violation. Violations may include driving while impaired, drinking while operating, failure to stop for red signal or improper, unsafe passing. If a driver’s citation or violation is not included here – or if you believe the other driver broke the law in some way – make sure you speak up. An attorney can be your voice for justice.
The investigating police officer will often ask the drivers to make a statement about what happened. Other times, they might simply write down what the drivers said at the scene of the accident. If you believe you said something different than what’s included in the “statement of driver” section, speak up. Talk to an attorney and tell them exactly what happened. That way, your lawyer can work with you to make sure your voice is heard loud and clear.
If any passengers were in your vehicle or another one at the time of your accident, their personal information (name, age, etc.) should be included here. There’s also a line for the investigating police officer to note if the passenger was injured and the severity of their injury. Verify this information. If it’s not accurate, tell the police or tell your attorney. Your lawyer can work with you to get the facts right.
Many times, many people involved in an accident want to make an official statement about exactly what happened. This page provides people involved in a crash an opportunity to write down exactly what happened. If you want to make a formal statement about your accident, talk to an attorney. A lawyer can advise you on how to fill out this page based on what happened to you.
Pages 9 and 10
Pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorists
Many motor vehicle accidents involve pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorists. Their information can be found on these pages. The circumstances surrounding these accidents can also be found here. Carefully review these pages if you or family member was injured or worse in a pedestrian or bicycle accident.
Pages 11 and 12
Commercial motor vehicles
Many accidents involve large commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers and buses. These two pages are devoted to crashes involving these vehicles. The investigating police officer will indicate what type of commercial motor vehicle was involved in the crash. The contact information for the company the commercial driver works for can also be found here.
Some investigating police officers use this page to draw a large diagram of the accident. Carefully review the drawing for accuracy. Does the drawing accurately show the correct positions of the vehicles involved in the crash? Or does the diagram need to be amended? You were there. You know what happened. Make sure the drawing is correct. Talk to a lawyer and learn more about your legal options.
Click here to download a printable version.