It is important to know what steps to take following an auto accident in order to protect life, property, and the legal rights of all involved.
What to do immediately following an accident:
- If there are no injuries, move the vehicles if they are obstructing traffic.
- Take precautions by warning the surrounding traffic of the accident with hazard lights, flares, or other traffic devices, so as to avoid further accidents
- If police and/or medical assistance is needed have someone call 911.
- Assist any injured person to the extent of your capabilities, but be careful not to cause further injuries.
- You may want to see a doctor even if no injuries are immediately apparent.
Information to exchange following an accident:
Provide the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident your:
- Vehicle registration
- Driver's license number if requested
- Insurer’s name and contact information
Information to request:
- Above information from driver
- Proof of insurance from driver
- Contact information from any witnesses
- New Mexico law requires that any person involved in an automobile accident inform the proper police agency as soon as possible if personal injury or death has occurred or where the parties believe that the value of the property damage is more than $500.00.
- If no police investigation is done, you must file a written report within five days if the accident resulted in injuries, death or property damage.
- If you have an accident with a vehicle and cannot immediately find the owner or driver you are required to leave a note in an easily visible place so you can be contacted.
- It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident without exchanging the proper information.
All vehicles operated in the State of New Mexico must have proof of financial responsibility, which means liability insurance covering anyone who operates the vehicle. You should also consider carrying uninsured motorist coverage. If you financed your vehicle through a lending institution, you must carry full-coverage on the vehicle at least until the vehicle is paid off in full.
Tickets and citations:
Just because you are involved in an accident and receive a ticket or a citation, does not necessarily mean that you are at fault. Signing a statement of responsibility or signing a ticket claiming you are at fault could be used against you later. You might want to consult a lawyer before admitting to anything.
- You cannot be forced to give your opinion as to the cause of the accident by anyone, including the police.
- You have the right to consult an attorney before making any statements.