If you have a motor vehicle accident in West Virginia, you will want to claim compensation. To do this, you need to prove the other person was at fault. However, in many accidents, both drivers were partially to blame. The state applies the rule of comparative negligence. If you are judged 30% to blame, you can only recover 70% of your total damages. However, if you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot claim anything.
What you do in the immediate aftermath of a vehicle collision can affect your chance to claim compensation. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to think straight. Remember these tips if you have an accident:
- Stop: You must stop if you are in a collision. Failing to do so could lead to charges.
- Keep safe: People who have survived car crashes have sadly been killed by another vehicle in the aftermath. Get to the side of the road where possible.
- Do not apologize: Why would you say sorry unless you did something wrong? That will be the thinking of the insurance company if they find out you apologized after the crash. As polite as it is, do not do it.
- Help: If someone is injured, do what you can to help, without endangering yourself. Ringing the emergency services may be the best way to help if there are serious injuries.
- Ring the police: Call the police so that they can investigate the collision, assist in obtaining insurance and relevant information, and prepare a report.
- Call your insurer: You need to report it to make a claim.
Do not try and deal with the insurance companies alone. They are experts at this; you probably are not. They will aim to pay out as little as they can. Seek the help of an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney to negotiate with the insurers on your behalf.