Auto insurance is meant to provide financial protection for those who are in a car accident. There are various forms of insurance. Liability insurance is one of the most important components; it helps protect other drivers if a person causes an accident. In West Virginia, there are auto insurance laws that you need to know about in order to keep yourself legally compliant but also to learn what your options are if someone causes an accident that you suffer losses from.
If you need immediate help, contact the attorneys at Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP immediately for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Do You Have to Have Car Insurance in West Virginia?
West Virginia, like most other states, requires drivers to obtain specific types of insurance. It does not require you to carry protection for your car or your possessions. However, to drive legally in the state, you need to have at least the minimum liability insurance required. It is also important to know that this minimum requirement is rarely enough. It is very easy for a simple accident to create a significant amount of loss. Having enough insurance – often above the state’s minimum – is generally a good idea.
The West Virginia Insurance Regulations You Need to Know
West Virginia is a tort state. As a tort state, the driver that is at fault’s insurance company will pay the losses for the accident. This is the opposite of what happens in a no-fault state. In those states, the insurance company you have will pay for your losses. When an accident occurs, the individual who is considered at fault for the losses will be deemed responsible for the losses to the other party.
Let’s say that you are in an accident in which a driver rear-ends your vehicle. The police come to the scene. One of the key steps the police will take is to assign fault. That means, based on the evidence at the scene, the police officer will state a specific person is responsible for what occurred. In the case of a rear-ending, the police may say the other driver is responsible because he or she failed to control their vehicle, causing the incident to occur. In this case, that person’s insurance is responsible for paying for the damage to your vehicle.
There are limitations here, and it is possible for fault to be split in some cases. However, if you feel that you were assigned fault when it was not your fault, you can and should seek out legal help to fight this claim. You can challenge it.
What Your Requirements Are
As noted, the state of West Virginia also has insurance minimum requirements. In West Virginia, drivers must carry the following minimum liability insurance policies:
- Obtain $25,000 in liability insurance for bodily injury – per person
- Maintain $50,000 in liability insurance for bodily injury – per incident
- Have at least $25,000 in liability insurance for property damage
- Maintain an underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage policy that has at least the same coverage as your liability policies listed here.
As noted, these are minimum requirements. Most drivers will want to maintain more than this to reduce the risk of being financially responsible for additional losses if an accident occurs.
What Happens If You Are Driving Without Insurance in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, you will be required to have liability insurance to operate a vehicle and to maintain a state-issued driver’s license. If you fail to have this coverage, the state can suspend your license. Multiple failures to maintain insurance can increase your costs, but also can lead to a revocation of your driver’s license. You will likely pay fines, too.
What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident
What happens if you are in a car accident in which another driver causes the losses? Whenever you are involved in a car accident – no matter who is to blame – call the police and then call your auto insurance agent. Your agent will help you to file a claim as needed. You should also gather the information from the other driver so that you can contact their insurance for your losses. This process does not have to be complex, but it is common for insurers to try to rush the claim process hoping to reduce the amount of your claim. Don’t do that. Instead, allow our West Virginia personal injury attorneys to help you get a fair claim for your losses.
Call Your Personal Injury Attorneys in West Virginia for a Free Consultation
If you’ve suffered any type of loss due to someone else’s negligence, our team is available to talk to you. We provide a free consultation to discuss your case. We’ll come to your home or to the hospital if necessary. We encourage you to take advantage of our experience. Call 877-416-5457 for an appointment or send us an email.