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How to Read Your Car Accident Report

Our West Virginia lawyers help the injured recover compensation

Negligent drivers who cause car accidents often don’t take responsibility and deny doing anything wrong. Insurance companies look for ways to pay you as little as possible and may even blame you for what happened. The experienced car accident lawyers at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC can help you recover the compensation you deserve by building strong cases built on facts.

If you’ve been in a car accident in Charleston or anywhere in the state, the police officer who responds to the scene will fill out an accident report. In West Virginia, this form is called the “State of West Virginia Uniform Traffic Crash Report.” It provides valuable information that can help determine how the accident happened and who is responsible.

If you’ve been injured, we can help

This report can be several pages long and may be difficult to understand. The officer will record information about the time and location of the accident, the people and vehicles that were involved, road conditions, witness accounts and whether a driver was driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

After your accident, ask the police department that responded to the scene about how you can get a copy of the report. There will be a fee. When you receive the report, review it carefully. Check to see if all the information is correct and if the narrative of the accident matches with how you remember it.

You should also talk to a lawyer. Insurance companies will use the same set of facts to tell a different story about the accident. They may argue that you were partially responsible for causing the crash. They may question the extent of your injuries or say that they were pre-existing. They have many tactics to try to pay you less.

Experience that gets results

That’s why it’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Our firm has been helping car accident victims get the compensation they deserve for more than a decade. We know the impact an accident can have on your life. There are medical bills, lost income if you can’t work, vehicle repairs and other expenses.

Our lawyers know how insurance companies operate. We don’t tolerate attempts to minimize your claim. Our legal team conducts our own investigation – gathering evidence, reviewing medical records, and if needed, consulting accident reconstruction experts and other witnesses. We build strong cases insurance companies can’t ignore.

The accident report contains vital information that can help your case. If you have questions about your report, or if there is information that is not correct, it’s important to get trusted legal advice as soon as possible. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We can go over your accident report, review the details of your crash and discuss your legal options.

Accident report can be found at:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/wv_par_17c_rev_02_2007.pdf

Accident Report instructions page 1

Page 1: Crash Data

Crash Data – On this page, an officer will record details about where the crash occurred, including city or town and whether it happened on a highway, city street, private road or other location. The date and time will also be noted, as well as the weather and road conditions. The type of collision will also be recorded.

Accident Report Instructions page 2

Page 2

Narrative – The officer will write a description of how the accident occurred after examining the scene talking to the people involved. This section may describe negligent actions taken by the other driver – for example, whether the driver ran a red light or was driving recklessly.

Crash Diagram – There will be a drawing that depicts the accident, including the direction each vehicle was traveling and relative distance to intersections and any objects there were struck, such as a guardrail or a utility pole.

Accident Report Instructions page 3

Page 3

Vehicle Data – On this page, the officer will list information such as the type of vehicle, the make and model, VIN and license plate number and the vehicle’s owner. The officer will also note what actions the vehicle was engaged in at the time of the crash and whether the driver took action to avoid a collision.

Accident Report Instructions page 5

Page 5

Driver Data – The officer will record information of the driver, including name and contact information. This page will also note the driver’s condition and whether the driver drove recklessly or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Click to download the How To Read Your Car Accident Report PDF.

Charleston, WV

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
10 Hale St Suite 501
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: (304) 720-1000

Columbus, OH

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
20 E Broad St Suite 1000
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 587-8423