Being involved in a car accident is a jarring experience. Your mind is racing, adrenaline is pumping, and you might be in shock or injured. With all this chaos, it’s easy to overlook the time-sensitive steps you must take. Among these is reporting the accident to the police.
West Virginia law doesn’t give you unlimited time to make that report – and missing the deadline could have serious consequences. Our West Virginia car accident lawyers are here with a straightforward guide on how long you have to report a car accident, ensuring you have the information you need to protect your rights.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to the WV Police?
According to West Virginia law, anyone involved in a collision with injuries, deaths, or more than $1,000 in property damage must report the accident to the police “immediately.” The law does not explicitly define “immediately.” However, we recommend reporting any accident to the police as soon as possible – particularly if anyone involved in the crash sustained severe injuries. You can find the West Virginia traffic report form here or contact the West Virginia State Police here.
What If You Fail to Report the Crash Within the Time Limit?
Another part of the West Virginia Code addresses consequences for not reporting a crash. It states that if someone does not immediately report an accident to the police when required, state authorities could suspend their driver’s license. A driver involved in a crash could also face a misdemeanor traffic violation charge, with penalties starting at a $100 fine and up to 10 days in jail.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance Company?
Different insurance companies and policies have their own rules for when you must report a car accident. While some may give you a few weeks, others require immediate notification – sometimes within 24 to 48 hours. Always check your policy’s fine print for the specific time frame, as falling outside those limits could lead to denied claims or other complications.
While reporting the accident soon is important, being cautious about what you say to the insurance adjuster is equally crucial. Remember, their job is to minimize the company’s financial liability, which may not always align with your best interests. Stick to the facts and avoid admitting fault or giving recorded statements without understanding the potential ramifications.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in West Virginia?
State law gives you two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit. We advise you to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after a crash. Personal injury cases can take a while to build. You want to give your legal team as much time as you can to create a compelling case. The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the more they can do to help you.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC
The team at Robinette Legal Group, PLLC can guide you through the legal process after a crash and help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.
Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.