A West Virginia car accident lawyer discusses what you should do after being involved in a crash.
No matter how safe and responsible of a driver you may be, everyone is at risk of being involved in a crash. We can't always avoid the drivers who speed, drive distracted, drive impaired, or fall asleep at the wheel. When a crash occurs, it happens fast and with little warning. The aftermath is often a frustrating and complex ordeal.
There are certain steps you can take to pursue a successful car accident case and get the compensation you deserve. The attorneys at Klie Law Offices in West Virginia explain which actions you should take immediately and in the days following your crash.
What to do immediately
A crash caused by someone else's negligent behavior can cause a great deal of frustration and shock. It's important that you take a moment to assess the situation and move your car out of the line of traffic. Be sure to check on anyone involved in the crash and call 911 if there are any severe injuries. Always call the police and wait for them to arrive, even if nobody sustained serious injuries.
While waiting for the police to arrive, you should exchange insurance information with the other driver involved in the crash. This should include:
- Full name and contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver's license number and plate number
You should also consider taking these actions while waiting for the police to arrive:
- Take pictures of the crash scene from various angles.
- Take note of the other driver's behavior, admittance of fault, and nearby surveillance cameras.
- Speak to witnesses, ask them what they saw, and exchange contact information with them.
- Ask for dashcam footage from witnesses (if available).
Obtaining and reading your car accident report
Once the police arrive at the scene of the crash, they will conduct an initial investigation and generate a car accident report. This report will contain:
- A diagram and written narrative indicating how the crash occurred.
- The amount of damage inflicted to both cars.
- Information on the parties and cars involved.
- If police issued any arrests, warnings, or citations.
- The weather and road conditions that likely contributed to the crash.
If you're crash occurred in West Virginia, you can obtain a copy of your car accident report from the WV state police website. In Ohio, you can obtain a copy from the Ohio Department of Public Safety website. Your attorney can also obtain a copy for you. It's important that you review the details documented in your report. Any information that is inaccurate can be used against your claim by the other driver's insurance company.
Dealing with insurance companies
You are required to report your crash to your insurance company, but it's important that you stick to the basic facts. Insurance companies stand to lose a substantial amount of money from a crash and they don't always have your best interest in mind.
You'll likely be contacted by the other driver's insurance company. A representative or adjuster will want to ask you several questions regarding your crash. While they may come across as helpful and friendly, they will be looking for a recorded statement from you. It's important that you never speak to the other driver's insurance company. You could unknowingly admit to fault and anything you tell them can later be used against your claim.
Let an experienced car accident attorney deal with the other driver's insurance company on your behalf.
Getting medical attention
You may not feel injured immediately after a crash. Adrenaline and shock often mask the pain. Even if you feel fine, you should always get prompt medical attention. Some crash-related injuries produce delayed symptoms that can appear hours or days later. We often see this with whiplash, mild traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, and spinal injuries.
Your doctor can determine what type of injury you have sustained by performing a physical examination, X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. It's important that you get an official diagnosis and begin treatment before your injury gets worse.
Contact a West Virginia car accident lawyer to pursue damages
After you have followed all of the steps above, you will likely be facing a heap of expenses relating to your medical care and property damage. In addition, you may need to take time off from work and engaging in certain activities until you recover. The good news is, you have the right to recover all of your losses through a financial settlement or court verdict. An experienced attorney at Klie Law Offices can help you recover every penny of your financial losses. In addition, we can fight for additional compensation for pain and suffering; loss of enjoyment of life; mental and emotional trauma; and other damages accrued from your crash.
Our law firm handles cases in West Virginia and Ohio. We offer free and confidential case evaluations to our clients and will not charge you any money unless we win your case. To get started, contact us online or call us.