What To Do After An Accident
Help For West Virginia Car Wreck Victims
A car accident can be one of the most stressful and unexpected experiences in life. Because these events can be traumatic and can cause devastating injuries to those involved, it is important to be prepared beforehand in the event that you are ever involved in an accident. Here at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our Charleston car accident lawyers have helped countless victims and families through the difficult aftermath of a serious accident.
If you are involved in a car accident:
Make sure everyone is okay.
After an accident, the first thing you must do is make sure that everyone involved is okay and not suffering from life-threatening injuries. When in doubt, it is always wise to call an ambulance. Even though accidents can be both frightening and very stressful, you should take a deep breath and try your best to remain calm. Letting your panic control you after an accident can lead to rash decisions or statements that you may regret.
Do not make apologies for the accident or for another person's injuries.
Even though you may be trying to be polite, saying something like "I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention there" can be used by another party to hold you liable for the accident. Keep in mind that the other party involved in your accident may not be willing to admit any amount of fault and may use what you say against you when you try to file an accident claim.
Gather information from witnesses.
Start talking to anyone who is nearby and try to gather their contact information if they have seen the accident. It is wise to do this immediately after your accident while you are waiting for the police or ambulance to arrive. You should also get the name of the other driver involved in the accident and write down whose name their car is registered under.
Call the police, even if the accident is minor.
You should state the facts of the accident but do not admit fault. After a serious motor vehicle accident, it may be hard to not discuss what just happened with others, but it is important to limit your discussion of the accident to the police and your attorney. The other party's insurance company may try to contact you, but you should wait to talk to them until you get in touch with your own attorney.
Call your insurance company and report the accident immediately.
If possible, you should do this at the scene of the accident when the police are there. Sometimes, the police officer can give your insurance company more accurate and valid information and this can save you time in waiting for your claim to be processed. If this is not possible, call as soon as you can, as the insurance company may deny your claim if they are not promptly notified of the accident. But keep your comments brief and stick to the facts of what happened - even your own insurance company may not have your best interests in mind.
Take notes and pictures of the accident.
This may seem unnecessary if the police are there at the accident scene, but having your own proof of the damage to your car and the accident scene will help with insurance. This data, such as a diagram of the exact crash site and where each car was, can be used as evidence if there is ever a dispute with your claim in the future.
Ask for a property damage figure from your insurance company.
This valuation will serve as the amount that you use to recover or replace your car.
Contact our law firm right away
Around the same time that you call your insurance company about your accident, you should also contact our firm for a free consultation. One of our skilled car accident attorneys in Charleston can explain your legal options and answer any questions you have. We believe that you deserve the best legal representation, and we work to get maximum compensation for every client.
Download your free copy of our eBook for more information on how to handle a West Virginia car accident.