From the tree-covered Appalachian Mountains, to Harpers Ferry and the Potomac River, West Virginia’s has some of the most scenic roadways in the country. But your picturesque Sunday drive can turn into a fender-bender nightmare if you aren’t careful. Even if you are a careful and a defensive driver, sometimes automobile collisions are inevitable due to the other driver’s negligence or criminal actions. Knowing more about the West Virginia car accident settlement process and general timelines can help you manage the situation a bit better. Below you will find key information about reporting requirements, car insurance laws, settlements, and more.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in West Virginia?
Yes, in many cases you will need to report the accident. Specifically, there are two scenarios where a car accident must be reported to law enforcement in West Virginia:
- Accidents that involve personal injury or death must be reported immediately to the local police department if it happens in a municipality or the local sheriff or West Virginia State Police Department if outside the municipality.
- Accidents involving over $500 worth of property damage must also be reported.
West Virginia Car Insurance Laws
Drivers in West Virginia, as in most states, must carry a minimum amount insurance on their vehicle. The minimum amount is as follows:
- $25,000 for one crash, one injury
- $50,000 for one crash, two or more injuries
- $25,000 for property damage
For more information, contact the West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Thinking of driving without car insurance? Think again. Drivers who fail to carry adequate insurance face penalties including a driver’s license suspension, suspension of your vehicle registration, and possible criminal penalties if you drive on a suspended license.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in West Virginia?
While no one can predict the outcome of a car accident settlement, we can provide you with a basic idea of the settlement process and timeline.
The first step is filing the car accident claim with the proper insurer, whether yours or the other driver’s. Next, the insurance company will investigate the matter via a claims adjuster. The claims process can take a few days or a few weeks depending on the amount of evidence, medical reports, and witness interviews. Once that is complete, you will receive a settlement offer. This may become a negotiation between your attorney and the insurance company involving demand letters and counteroffers. If both sides can’t agree on a settlement amount, you may have to go to court and have a civil jury trial decide the outcome.
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in West Virginia?
Drivers, passengers, or pedestrians are allowed to recover damages as a result of as accident. Car accident damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, car repairs, disability or disfigurement, and pain and suffering. However, the factors involved in determining the amount of a car accident settlement vary from situation to situation and person to person. There is not a “one size fits all” formula for car accidents and perhaps the best person to answer your questions about car accident settlements is your attorney.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in West Virginia?
West Virginia law provides a two-year deadline for filing a car accident claim under West Virginia Code 55-2-12. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” If you don’t file within this time frame, you won’t be able to file whatsoever. You might have a winning case, but fail to bring it at the appropriate time and you’ll be barred. The same is true is someone dies as a result of a car accident. Your wrongful death claim must be filed two years from the date of the accident under West Virginia Code §55-7-6.
Get Legal Help With West Virginia's Car Accident Settlement Process
Dealing with auto insurance companies can be a frustrating experience. While you may have a decent grasp of West Virginia insurance laws, there is the whole settlement process to deal with. The good news is that you don’t have to go through this process alone. Get started today and speak with a West Virginia car accident attorney near you.