Accident Guide in West Virginia

Automobile accidents are serious, with both legal and ethical responsibilities all involved parties must acknowledge.

Report the Accident

If you're involved in a motor vehicle accident in which anyone is injured or killed, or there is at least $500 worth of property damage.

If the accident happens within a municipality, report it to the local police.

If the accident happens outside a municipality, report it to the county sheriff's office or the nearest West Virginia State Police Detachment.

Note that even though you have five days to report the accident, it's best to call law enforcement as soon as the accident occurs.

Automobile Insurance

Having adequate car insurance protects you and other drivers in the event of property damage and physical injury related to automobiles. However, having car insurance in WV also helps you keep your driver's license, as well as keep your vehicle on the road.

In West Virginia, if you don't have proper auto coverage at the time of an accident, both your driver's license and your vehicle registration will be suspended. Period.

Take Care of Yourself and Others

The WV Driver Licensing Handbook provide thorough details for handling motor vehicle accident-related emergencies.

Here's our five-step summary:

  1. If feasible (no major injuries, car still running) pull to the side of the road.
  2. Turn off the ignitions of all involved vehicles.
  3. Place flashers or flares to notify oncoming traffic of the accident.
  4. Call 911 and local law enforcement, and provide basic first aid while you wait. Remember, you should never move a victim unless it's absolutely necessary.
  5. Exchange names, addresses, license plate numbers, driver's license numbers, and motor vehicle registration information with each party.
  6. If you just happen to be driving the same path, don't stop unless you can help.

Travel Prepared

Given the above steps, you're probably thinking it would be wise to have a first aid kit, as well as an emergency kit, towed away in your vehicle.

You'd be right. Actually, these kits are important to have around even if the emergency isn't related to a serious accident.

Make sure your first aid kit has essentials such as:

  • Latex gloves.
  • Sterile bandages, gauze, and tape.
  • Antibiotic and burn ointments.
  • Antibiotic cleansers.
  • An icepack.
  • Any prescription medications you would need.

Your vehicle emergency kit should include:

  • A flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • A jack
  • Emergency flashers or flares
  • Thick, sturdy gloves
  • A basic tool kit
  • A warm blanket

Many kits are ready-made, or you can put one together yourself.

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