If you have been involved in a car accident in West Virginia – and suffered injuries and/or property damages – it is important that you file an auto accident claim promptly and seek compensation for your losses. You pay your monthly auto insurance premiums with the expectation that your insurance company will come through and recompense you after your car accident. However, we have seen in numerous instances that the process doesn’t quite work as smoothly for the auto accident victims.
An injured auto accident victim needs the guidance and counsel of an experienced West Virginia auto accident lawyer who will remain on his or her side, fight for their rights and help them secure the compensation they rightfully deserve. Here are the five steps to filing an auto accident claim in West Virginia.
Step 1: Reporting your West Virginia auto accident
As a driver who has been involved in a collision, it is crucial to stop immediately and remain at the scene. You should also file a police report. Provide your account of the incident to the responding police officer. If you or any of your passengers have been injured, make sure you call 911 and get medical attention right away. It is important to get a copy of the police report, which often helps establish the facts of the incident. The investigating officer will often times determine fault for the accident, which may prove very useful to your auto accident claim particularly if the other driver has been deemed clearly at fault for causing the collision.
Step 2: Collect as much information as possible from the accident scene
Evidence forms the basis of a strong auto accident claim. Much of these pieces of evidence are collected soon after the accident. Among the details that must be gathered at the scene of the crash include:
? Details for other parties involved in the crash (driver’s license number, auto insurance details, vehicle license plate numbers, contact information, etc.)
? Contact information for eyewitnesses, anyone who may have seen what occurred and can corroborate your account of the incident.
? Photographs and/or video of the accident scene, which should include such details as your injuries, your passengers’ injuries, damage to the vehicles, the position of the vehicles, traffic and roadway conditions, any debris that is strewn on the roadway, skid marks on the roadway, etc.
? If possible, also write down notes and draw diagrams of what you see at the accident scene because you are likely to forget most details and your memory may become fuzzy as time goes by.
If you are unable to gather this information at the scene because you are injured and have to go to the emergency room or hospital, ask if a friend or family member can help you get this crucial information for you.
Step 3: Call your insurance company right away.
This is a critical step if you would like your insurance company to reimburse you for your losses quickly. Contact your insurance company from the accident scene or as soon as you get home and are in a safe location. Your insurance company will ask for all the basic details including the time, location and circumstances of the crash. Write it all down accurately so you are able to provide the details with ease. When you talk to the insurance company, never admit fault or make any guesses as to what occurred. Stick to the facts and to what you know. Your insurance company will assign an adjustor to your case and let you know where you can take your vehicle to be repaired. They will also provide you with a claim number, which will serve as your case number when you want to follow up.
Step 4: Save all your receipts and invoices
Auto accident victims may have to deal with a number of medical expenses such as emergency transportation, hospitalization, surgeries and cost of medication and medical equipment. It is important that you are diligent about saving each and every doctor’s report and invoice because these documents serve as evidence of the injuries you suffered and the treatment you received for them. Also, document the number of days of work you missed and the wages you lost as a result of the accident and the injuries. Include other items here such as whether you had to hire a housekeeper, gardener, nanny or other services because of your injuries. You should be reimbursed for all these and other expenses you incurred as a result of your accident and injury.
Step 5: Contact an experienced West Virginia auto accident attorney
If you were injured and had to take time off work to recover from your injuries, it is imperative that you have a car accident lawyer on your side who is not only a skilled negotiator but can also represent you in a jury trial, if it becomes necessary. In such instances, you would be well advised to seek the services of an experienced West Virginia auto accident lawyer.
You may be entitled to damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain, and suffering. A knowledgeable West Virginia accident attorney will be able to evaluate your claim, determine what it is worth and help you receive fair and full compensation for all your losses. Please call The Robinette Legal Group PLLC to find out how we can help you.