How to Get a Copy of Your Car Accident Report in West Virginia
When you are involved in any kind of car accident anywhere in West Virginia, you may inevitably want to see a copy of the car accident report that was filed in connection with your crash. Unfortunately, car accident reports can be incredibly challenging for the average person to locate.
In most cases, police departments will send police officers to respond to crash scenes. You can usually ask the officer responding to your accident how you can get a copy of the car accident report. Some police departments will allow you to download reports from their own websites (which should end in .gov, not .com, .biz, or .org). Still, many agencies in West Virginia also use a service called ReportBeam, which provides police reports for 16 different West Virginia police departments.
Contact a Car Accident Report Lawyer in West Virginia
If you need legal assistance after an automobile accident in West Virginia, make sure that you speak to an experienced West Virginia personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney will know how to secure the accident report you need to prove negligence if you are seeking financial compensation for your losses.
You do not have to navigate the complicated legal process all by yourself. Take advantage of a free consultation when you call our firm or contact us online today so we can review your case and advise you on the next steps you should take.
Types of Car Accidents
Common kinds of car accidents in West Virginia include (but are not limited to):
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Side-impact collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Speeding accidents
- Reckless Driving accidents
- Blind spot accidents
- Low-speed accidents
- Merging accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Distracted driving accidents
- Drowsy driving accidents
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol
- T-bone or broadside accidents
- Single vehicle accidents
- Multiple vehicle accidents
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Most automobile accidents are caused by one driver’s negligence. The driver who is at fault will then become liable for all the damages stemming from the crash, and their insurance company should provide the necessary compensation to all people involved in the accident.
Some of the most frequent causes of crashes include (but are not limited to):
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving or driver fatigue
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving
- Bad weather
- Road rage
- Traffic signal negligence
- Road defects
- Defective automobile parts
- Unsafe lane changes
- Wrong-way driving
- Improper turns
What Happens After a Car Accident
When you have been involved in a car accident in West Virginia, you first want to make sure everybody involved is safe and then seek medical attention for yourself. You should always go to the hospital, even when you do not think you were harmed.
You will also need to contact the police to report the crash immediately, and then you should try to get information from any witnesses. When possible, take as many pictures as possible of your crash scene.
You will then have to contact your insurance company to report your accident, and you should do your best to keep your comments short and to the point. Remember that even when an insurance agent sounds friendly and concerned about your well-being, they are still working for the insurer, and most insurance companies will seek ways to minimize any payments to car accident victims unless another insurer is going to be footing the bill.
Reporting Car Accidents to the Police
West Virginia Code § 17C-4-6 requires all drivers involved in automobile accidents to report their crashes when they cause injuries and a minimum of $1,000 in damages. Police officers responding to the call will interview all people involved in the crash within 24 hours and then file a report within ten days.
Every police officer who investigates a crash in West Virginia resulting in bodily injury to or death of any person or property damage of $1,000 or more must prepare a crash report either electronically or in writing. Within 24 hours of the crash, the investigating officer will provide the owner, operator, and insurance company information for all the involved parties to each of the other involved parties and to each party’s respective insurance agents, with all information being made available at no cost.
How to Get a Copy of a Car Accident Report
You can often contact the police department that responded to the car accident scene. The police department will usually provide a copy of the car accident report or tell you how to get one. Some police departments will have instructions saying you can find a report by typing in the report number provided by the officer and clicking on a button to show results.
In some cases, an advanced search may be required to find a car accident report. Doing so will require you to enter certain search fields, which can include:
- Crash date
- Crash location
- Involved person’s name
- Involved person’s driver’s license number
Depending on the service utilized, the search engine may return your report or provide directions for entering a credit card number to check out and receive the report. The West Virginia State Police has a Traffic Safety Section page on its website with a link to Criminal and Crash Report Forms that can be downloaded, completed, and mailed to the address on the form.
This form will require the following:
- Date of crash
- Location of crash
- Name of driver or owner #1
- Name of driver or owner #2
- Pedestrian name, when applicable
- Passenger name, when applicable
The West Virginia State Police charge a fee of $20 for a report or $25 for a certified report.
How a Lawyer Can Help
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your car accident claim, they can usually get a copy of the police report for you. The crash report is a customary part of any independent investigation because the crash report will be critical for determining how police view potential liability.
Beyond the car accident report that an attorney can get you, they can also help you recover all available compensation for your crash. Meaning that a lawyer can negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf, so you do not have to worry about only getting a meager settlement offer.
Get Help From a West Virginia Car Accident Report Lawyer
Did you suffer serious injuries or significant property damage in a car crash in West Virginia? You will want to have an experienced West Virginia, personal injury attorney on your side.
A lawyer can secure a copy of your car accident report and then fight to make sure you recover all of the damages to which you are entitled. Get in touch with a lawyer by calling the firm or contacting them online today so you can get a free consultation. Also, know that you will not have to pay anything for legal representation because most attorneys will handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid when you recover the money first.