Vehicle accident claims can become complicated, particularly when individuals are working to uncover evidence to prove liability. In order to recover compensation, it must be shown how the other driver(s) involved caused the incident. Here, we want to examine the various types of evidence that can help ensure that your car accident claim is successful in West Virginia.
Evidence Gathered at the Scene of the Incident
The gathering of evidence begins right after any vehicle accident occurs. In West Virginia, just about every vehicle accident that occurs on our roadways gets investigated by the police. The most obvious piece of evidence that will be required for a successful claim includes the police report. However, if you are able to do so at the scene of the crash, we encourage you to gather as much evidence as possible.
This often begins with using your cell phone or another type of camera to take pictures of everything. This includes:
- Vehicle damage
- Causes of the crash
- Debris or skid marks
- Traffic and weather conditions
- Nearby road signs
If you notice any surveillance cameras on nearby homes or businesses or on stoplights nearby, get pictures of those so you can begin the process of gathering surveillance footage later.
Additionally, if there are any eyewitnesses at the incident, whether bystanders near the roadway or those inside of the vehicles, you need to get their names and contact information written down as soon as possible. You may not be able to get their statements at the scene, but they can provide these statements later to the insurance carrier or at a personal injury trial.
Evidence Gathered in the Days and Weeks That Follow the Crash
In the days and weeks that follow a vehicle accident in Morgantown or anywhere else in West Virginia, there will likely be additional types of evidence that you can gather. However, at this point, we strongly encourage you to work with a skilled motor vehicle accident attorney who has experience handling these claims. An attorney will be able to more easily get the information needed for a successful claim. This includes:
- Video surveillance footage of the incident
- Vehicle black box data recorders
- Mobile device data of the at-fault driver
- Complete statements from eyewitnesses involved
- Police records if a law violation occurred during the incident
In some cases, fault is not necessarily clear right away. It may be necessary for an attorney to bring in an accident reconstruction expert who can use all of the evidence gathered as well as sophisticated computer models to put together a 3D rendering or other diagram to show what happened in the incident. This expert can provide information to the insurance carriers or during a jury trial if necessary. The good news is that West Virginia operates under a comparative negligence system, which means individuals can still recover compensation for a crash even if they are partially at fault. The total amount of compensation a person receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault, and no individual will be able to recover compensation if they are more than 50% responsible for the incident.
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.