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What to Do if You Are in an Auto Accident

Hopefully it will never happen to you, but it could.
Here’s some help if it does.

You are sitting at a stoplight. It turns green and you start through the intersection. Out of nowhere another vehicle, plows into the side of your car.

So, what next? Obviously this is a stressful situation. It would be helpful if even before an accident happens you have an idea of how you should proceed.

What does the law say

WV law includes several straightforward directives about auto accidents, including:

  • Both you and the other drivers are required to exchange information including name and address, registration number of vehicle, and driver’s license, if requested.
  • If there is (a) a death, (b) a bodily injury to a person, or (c) damage to the vehicle(s) appear to be more than $1,000, the police must be contacted.
  • If someone who is injured requests medical treatment, or it is apparent medical treatment is needed, you are required to provide reasonable assistance. This means you need to call for medical help, and may need to help get them to the hospital or a doctor.

Some additional suggestions

  • Make sure you are OK and check to see if it is safe to exit the vehicle. If so step out.
  • Take lots of pictures. If possible, it is best to do so before the vehicles are moved. Your cell phone camera will work fine for this task. Photo your car and any other vehicles involved. Be sure to use several angles in order to show all the damage.
  • Get medical help if needed. Err on the side of caution. If you have any symptoms of injury, allow the first responders to examine you and transport you if they think it best.
  • Contact your insurance. Likewise if the other driver is at fault, or if there is any question as to who is at fault, contact the other driver’s insurance.
  • Be cooperative with the police. Give them a statement… in writing if possible.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses.
  • If you go to the hospital or urgent care facility, give them your HEALTH insurance information (rather than your car insurance).
  • If you sense there will be any complication with matters such as who is at fault, dealing with the car insurance(s), or obtaining necessary medical attention, contact an attorney.

Legal help is available

Often it seems life’s more complicated issues confront us when we are least able to deal with them. Car accidents fall into that category, especially if injuries have occurred. Because multiple insurers and medical providers will likely be involved it can get complicated very quickly. If you are like most Americans, working through complex issues with insurance companies can be a daunting task.

In times like this a lawyer can provide important services, helping you make the right decisions and navigating through complex processes. Getting a lawyer on board early can be very helpful. We invite you to call the Berthold Law Firm at 304-345-5700 or toll free at 800-991-5022 if we can be of assistance.

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