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What Information Should I Exchange After a Car Accident?

Posted in Car accident on August 5, 2020

You have certain responsibilities after a car accident in West Virginia. As a driver, state law obligates you to remain at the scene and exchange information with the other driver. If you fail to stop at the scene of a car accident – no matter how minor – and leave your information, you could be guilty of the crime of hit-and-run. Exchange the correct information to protect yourself.

When to Report a Car Accident

By West Virginia law, you must stop at the scene, or as close to the scene as possible, of a car accident. This includes after a collision with a parked unattended vehicle. Never flee the scene of an accident, as this could lead to hit-and-run charges. This is a serious crime in West Virginia with expensive fines and jail time. Remain at the scene and call the police, if necessary.

In West Virginia, drivers do not have to call the police after minor car accidents. They can exchange information for an insurance claim. If the car accident caused injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damages, however, you must report it immediately to the police. Call 911 to reach the nearest police station. The police officer should submit a report to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for you. If your crash caused $500 to $1,000 in damages and you did not call the police, you will need to file a notice with the DMV yourself.

Name and Contact Information

Assist anyone with physical injuries while you are still at the scene of the car accident. This may mean calling an ambulance or arranging a ride to the nearest hospital. Then, exchange information with the other driver. West Virginia Code 17C-4-3 states that all drivers involved in a crash that causes injuries or deaths must provide certain information to the person injured or the owner of the damaged vehicle.

  •       Full name
  •       Valid telephone number where the driver can contact you
  •       Year, make, model and last four digits of your vehicle identification number
  •       Proof of insurance
  •       Name of the insured person
  •       Contact information of the insurance company
  •       Contact information of the insured, if this is not you

You can satisfy this requirement by either giving this information to the other driver or the police officer who is investigating at the scene of the accident. If you struck an unattended vehicle, you must leave your name, address and a description of the accident in writing in a conspicuous place on the damaged vehicle.

Other Information to Obtain at the Scene

Legally, you are free to leave after you have reported the accident (if necessary) and exchanged information with the other driver. The police will tell you when you can leave the scene of the crash. You may be able to build a stronger insurance claim, however, by collecting more than the minimum required information.

  • Photographs. Take pictures of all damaged vehicles, your injuries and the scene of the accident. Take video footage while at the scene as well, if possible.
  • Names of eyewitnesses. Write down the names and contact information of witnesses who saw the crash occur.
  • Police report number. Ask for the number on the police report. Your insurance company will request this information. You can also use it to obtain a copy of the report later.

All drivers bear the same responsibilities to exchange information after a car accident. If the other driver is refusing to cooperate, call the police. When exchanging proof of insurance, make sure the other driver gives you the name of the insurance company, a contact number and a policy number, if possible. Complete insurance information can facilitate an easier claims process. If the other driver says he or she does not have insurance, call the police to report to the scene of the accident. Call a West Virginia car accident attorney if you need assistance with a claim.