26 Jan 2023

By Jividen Law Offices, PLLC

In Car Accident

In West Virginia, state law requires drivers to immediately report a car accident if it causes anyone’s injury or death or $1,000 worth of property damages. When an accident is reported, responding police officers are to conduct a preliminary investigation and file a report within 24 hours that serves as an objective record of what happened.

Afterward, if you need to substantiate an insurance claim or a legal claim against the driver at fault for the car accident, the police report would be an important part of evidence you would provide.

If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you should contact a car accident attorney at your earliest opportunity. If you are eligible to recover compensation for your losses a car accident lawyer can make it happen faster and with less burden on you. See our Testimonials page about how the West Virginia car accident attorneys of Jividen Law Offices, PLLC have helped others like you recover millions of dollars in car accident claims. Each case starts with a free legal consultation.

How Long Do You Have To Report An Accident To The Police?

Under Chapter 17C of the West Virginia Code, Article 4-6 is titled “Immediate notification of crashes.” It says:

The driver of a vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more shall immediately by the quickest means of communication, give notice of such crash to the local police department if such crash occurs within a municipality, otherwise to the office of the county sheriff or the nearest office of the West Virginia State Police.

If the driver of a car in an accident is physically incapable of immediately reporting the crash, anyone who was in the vehicle at the time of the crash who is able to report it must immediately report the accident to police, according to §17C-4-8. When driver unable to report.

Failure to report a car accident as required is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100 or by imprisonment for up to 10 days. The individual’s driver’s license or permit may be suspended, too.

In West Virginia, the “quickest means of communication” is likely to be to phone 911 or to summon West Virginia State Police by entering *SP on your cell phone.

In Wheeling, WV, the Ohio County Commission directs 911 telecommunications operations for the city and county and ensures dispatch of appropriate public safety responders.

Responding law enforcement officers are to interview everyone involved in the accident and any witnesses and file a report with the WV the Division of Highways within 24 hours. Police accident reports are available upon request to all the parties involved in the accident and to each party’s respective insurance agents free of charge.

How Long Do You Have To Report A Car Accident To Your Insurance?

After a car accident, you should report it to your auto insurance carrier, even if you do not need to make a claim. It’s likely that your carrier requires you to report accidents within 30 days, but it’s best to check the wording of your specific policy.

Your insurer might require you to notify the police within a certain amount of time, often 24 hours, after an accident.

Reporting an accident to your insurer is not the same as making a claim. You have as long as two or three years to file a claim under certain types of coverage. However, it is a mistake to wait. If your insurer denies your claim without good reason, you have the right to ask the court to settle your dispute and award you a settlement. But in West Virginia, the statute of limitations on a car accident injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident.

Once you make a claim, insurance companies in West Virginia have a specific timeframe for acknowledging the claim and deciding whether to accept it and pay a settlement. It provides:

  • 15 working days to acknowledge the claim and send instructions and paperwork needed to process the claim. This includes proof-of-loss forms, which serve as a sworn statement from the policyholder about the scope of the damage or injuries.
  • 10 working days after receiving completed proof-of-loss forms and completing a “prompt investigation” to make a decision about the claim.
  • 15 working days to make the final payment if the claim is approved.

If the claim is not approved, you will likely hear that decision in 40 days or less. At that point, if you have not already, you need to speak to an experienced West Virginia car accident lawyer about your right to compensation.

Talk to a Wheeling Car Accident Attorney Now

If you have been injured in a car accident in Wheeling, WV, through no fault of your own, you may have the right to recover financial compensation from those responsible for the accident and your injuries. You should not wait to get help with a car accident claim from an experienced car accident attorney in Wheeling.

Contact Jividen Law Offices, PLLC today by phone or online for a free, no-obligation initial consultation about your legal options. Learn how our firm can give you the best chance of securing maximum financial compensation from a car accident claim. Call us now.