How Can I Find Out About Local Car Accidents?

Published on June 4, 2024, by Forbes Law Offices | Car Accidents


You put your safety at risk anytime you travel on the road, and that’s no different here in West Virginia. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that in 2021, our state saw 257 fatal crashes that resulted in 280 deaths. While this number may seem relatively small, if you account for the total number of individuals who suffered severe injuries in these wrecks, a lot of people’s lives were affected. Our roads here in Charleston and elsewhere in the state haven’t become any safer in recent years.

It’s not uncommon for loved ones to wait up at night for those close to them to return home from work, school, a social event, etc. It can be nerve-wracking when someone close to you doesn’t reappear when you expect them to. Your mind can begin envisioning all the different scenarios that could have occurred, including auto accidents.

If you’re curious “How can I find out about local car accidents?” in your effort to rule certain possibilities out, we’ll share reliable places to check for such details below.

Different Apps and Web Tools To Use To Find Out About Charleston, WV Crashes

There are a few different apps and websites that can help you look up where crashes and other emergent situations have recently been reported in our area. Some of the most notable of these include:

Metro 911 of Kanawha County

This is an ideal resource if you’re concerned about a crash that occurred in or around Charleston, WV. Metro 911 of Kanawha County provides an updated listing of emergency situations that may impact the public, including:

  • Police emergencies
  • Traffic issues, including disabled vehicles, crashes, and congestion
  • Weather events, including flooding
  • Chemical emergencies

As for notices of accidents, the site and its respective app maintain a listing of the following details surrounding all active and closed traffic calls and alerts:

  • The date and time it occurred/was issued
  • The nature of the complaint
  • The specific address and general area of Kanawha County where the incident occurred/is happening

The data listed on the online web tool appear to only remain accessible for just over 48 hours (depending on call and alert volume).

Waze App

Most of us have heard about the Waze phone app, where you can see real-time travel updates, including collisions, that may slow your travel. You may also be aware that the app allows you to report any incidents you encounter to help others avoid getting tied up in traffic themselves.

There’s also a web version of Waze. One of the easiest ways to access it is through the WCHS ABC 8/FOX 11 traffic page. It allows you to simply search by typing in an address. It then shows you crashes and other causes of slowdowns in the surrounding area.

WV511 Travel Info To Go

This state-government-sponsored service tool has both a web-based and smartphone app version and works statewide. WV511 allows you to type in your destination, and it tells you if there are any impediments you may encounter along the way. Some of the more notable filters you can turn on when using the site or app include:

  • An ability to show incidents, road closures, and detours
  • Active and future planned events
  • Alerts affecting passenger cars or commercial vehicles
  • Multilingual capabilities

The traffic data provided to power the app is sourced from Google and it even has an option to turn on Waze-reported events for broader coverage of potential crashes and other holdups. Also, when alerts appear on the screen, you can generally click on them to obtain additional information about the extent of the issues that lie ahead along your route so you can make a more informed decision as to whether to select a different one.

Reaching Out to Local Police Departments

If the apps and web tools above don’t yield any information about crashes and you have a gut feeling something has happened, you may want to consider contacting the police.

Every law enforcement agency in our area has a non-emergency line that should be staffed 24/7. While it can be a little tricky knowing which police force responded to a crash scene if you’re not sure of the address where it occurred, you can ask them to perhaps search their records by name, license plate number, location, or time frame, to see if anything aligns with a loved one that you fear may have been involved in a crash.

As for local police departments, some non-emergency lines you may want to consider calling include:

Search Online for Recent Crashes

There are many different news outlets, from TV stations to newspapers to informational and navigational websites and social media accounts, all of which may compile different data from their unique sources at different intervals. Performing a search using keywords like “accident” and “Charleston, WV” and then selecting “News” from the different results options may yield a listing of hits for recent, noteworthy crashes from across different platforms.

Reach Out to Local Hospitals

This, too, much like calling different law enforcement agencies, may seem like a “needle in a haystack” type of approach to finding out if your loved one is okay. And doing this is far more complicated since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) went into effect in 2003 than before it existed. However, if you’re able to provide at least some identifying information for your loved one, a staff member may be able to confirm their presence at the facility. With that information in hand, you might be able to speak to a health care provider and gain some general information about their condition.

When To Get a Car Accident Attorney Involved

Our sincere hope is that your loved one returns home safely and that there’s a plausible explanation for their tardiness. However, if you, unfortunately, find out that they didn’t return when you expected them because they were seriously hurt or lost their life in a crash, we send our sympathy.

We often receive questions from prospective clients asking if their situation warrants speaking with legal counsel. We like to explain that if you yourself were injured in a crash or discover from trying to ascertain your loved one’s whereabouts that they suffered debilitating injuries or lost their life in an accident, that’s when you’ll want to consult with a lawyer.

In many cases, collisions like these were caused by someone else acting negligently, whether they were driving while fatigued, drunk, distracted by their phone texting, or something else. At Forbes Law Offices, we can review details surrounding what led to your wreck or that of a family member and advise you of the rights West Virginia law affords you in your specific predicament. So, given how our consultations are free, it’s in your best interest to reach out to us for help if you or a relative has been seriously hurt in an auto accident today.