Whom do I contact after an auto accident?
(1) Police or other law enforcement – If the accident causes a personal injury or when property damage exceeds a certain dollar amount, such as $500, you are required to report the accident to police. Officers may take reports over the phone, but sometimes you have to make reports in person at the police station. Ideally, every car accident should be reported to the police at the scene of the accident. This will enable the officers to investigate the scene of the accident and take statements.
(2) Insurance company – Most auto insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report a car accident. The time frame can be VERY short. Failure to report in time may mean the company denies you coverage.
The insurance company will want all of the basic information to help its investigation.
NOTE: Sometimes the insurance company will want you to record a statement. For example, you may be on the phone with your insurance company when a representative will ask permission to tape the conversation. If you or your passengers were injured, if you think the insurance company may claim you’re not covered, or you have any concerns about the amount of your coverage, you may want to contact a West Virginia car accident attorney before you give the insurance company permission to record. See my prior posts on how insurance adjustors work to deny your claim before it even is made.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.