In order to safeguard your West Virginia car accident claim, there are a number of protective measures you should take immediately following the accident, as well as a number of actions from which you should avoid.
The steps you should take after your accident include:
- Do not move if you are injured. If possible, remain inside your car until police and emergency responders arrive. You do not want to increase the extent of injury by moving from the vehicle. If you are unclear as to the extent of your injuries it is imperative that you not move, one slight twist of the neck can do extensive damage.
- Seek immediate medical care. Get to an emergency room by ambulance if necessary. Refusing treatment at the scene or refusing to be taken to a hospital only prolongs the pain and suffering you may undergo. Heading to an emergency room will ensure that your treatment can begin right away. Make sure to follow all medical advice and follow ups that are recommended by the hospital staff and your primary care physician. Your primary goal should be to get better as soon as possible, and not following medical advice will hinder your recovery.
- Call the police. If you are not severely injured during the impact, and can do so, contact law enforcement. This is the very first action you should take immediately following your West Virginia car accident. If you are unable to make the call, tell the other driver do so, or ask a witness or passenger to make the call. It is important to notify law enforcement, so a record of the accident can be documented.
- Get names, numbers, and addresses of all others involved in the West Virginia car accident, including any and all witnesses. This information will be vital when filing your insurance claim. Insurance companies and their lawyers are going to want to speak with everyone involved and any potential witnesses. The more information you have the more likely the "true" story will come out and liability can be placed on all applicable parties.
- Take pictures with your camera or camera phone of the accident scene. Picture will assist in the documentation of the accident. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement will also take pictures. You will be able to request them when you receive the police report, however there will be an additional cost.
- Exchange auto insurance information with the other driver. If neither parties are injured in the accident, this is the quickest way towards resolution. However, in the event that the injuries are more extensive, this informaiton will be gathered by law enforcement. Do not rely on the responsing officers to gather this information, we have seen time and again, where the insurance information is not gathered and is not on the police report.
- Keep your vehicle where it is. Notify the other driver that police are on the way. Ask that they keep their car unmoved until police arrive, and until you take pictures of the accident unless it is unsafe to do so. Documenting the position of the vehicles will assist in determining liability by law enforcement and ultimately your attorney or the insurance company.
- Take pictures of your injuries, if visible. If you are seriously hurt, ask someone to aid you in taking all pictures and in collecting all names and addresses, when possible. This should be done only after you are safe and free from danger. Do not take pictures of your injuries at the scene of the accident.
- Do not talk about the details of the accident with anyone at the scene. Refrain from discussing fault, guilt, or from making any apologies. This also includes social media. Do not post anything on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram after your accident. This type of information can be used against you when your cliam is under review.
If you have any additional questions or would like to request a FREE accident book, do not hesitate to contact our office.
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