Distracted drivers are a leading cause of car accidents in the U.S. In West Virginia, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is crediting the state’s distracted driving law for the 18 percent decrease in roadway fatalities. However, there are still more than 50,000 car accidents reported in West Virginia each year, so chances are you or a loved one could be involved in a car accident. So becoming familiar with West Virginia’s car accident reporting basics will save you time down the road.
How to File a Car Crash Report in West Virginia
This chart provides a summary of West Virginia laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
When to Report a Car Accident to Police
Drivers involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person, or total estimated property damage of $1,000 or more, must immediately notify law enforcement. According to West Virginia law, if your accident takes place within a city you should call the local police department, otherwise call the office of the county sheriff or the nearest office of the West Virginia State Police.
The easiest way to inform the proper authorities is to call 9-1-1 and let the operator send help. It’s also a good idea to call the police after every accident, even a minor fender bender. Police officers are trained to properly investigate accident scenes. They will record their investigation and produce a report that may be useful if you are sued or decide to sue for your personal injuries, or property damage.
Filing a West Virginia Car Accident Report
When you’re in a minor accident, you don’t have to involve the police. However, West Virginia does require you to report the accident to the DMV under the following circumstances:
- Anyone was injured or killed
- $500 or more in total property damage occurred
Even after the police investigate, it is the driver’s responsibility to file the AR-13 form to determine if you were properly insured at the time of the accident. If you do not properly report your accident, your driving privileges can be revoked or suspended.
When Do Police File an Accident Report?
When officers are at the scene of a crash, they may prepare an accident report. Be aware, West Virginia law only requires law enforcement to file a report when the accident results in personal injury or total estimated property damage of $1,000 or more. If you’re involved in a minor fender bender and you want the police to file an accident investigation report, you’ll need to ask the officer on the scene.
Receiving a Copy of Your Accident Report
Once the accident investigation report is filed, a copy of your accident report can be purchased by mail or in-person at the law enforcement office closest to the scene of your accident. You’ll need to give some basic information about your accident to get your report, including:
- Date of the accident
- Names of the driver’s or pedestrians involved
Talk to a West Virginia Attorney About Your Car Accident Report
Accidents seems to happen at the worst possible time. Now you need to schedule car repairs, deal with the insurance company, and take time off work. Fortunately, you don’t need to go through the claims process alone. A local West Virginia accident attorney can negotiate directly with insurance companies on your behalf, and advocate for your full and fair recovery.