Accident Guide in New Mexico
As unpleasant as it is to think about, you should be aware of what New Mexico law requires you to do if you're in a vehicle accident.
Following the Accident
After the accident, you must immediately stop your vehicle. If possible, try to position your vehicle in a place that causes the least obstruction to other motorists.
You must give your name, address, and registration number to the others involved in the accident. If requested, you must show your driver's license, too.
If someone is injured, you must give "reasonable assistance" to the victim, which includes either calling for emergency help or taking the injured to receive medical care.
Accidents in which an injury, death, or property damage occurs mean you must contact law enforcement as quickly as possible. You must also file a written accident report with the state within five days of the accident.
What if you're injured and unable to either contact the police, or file the accident report? If you had a passenger with you and that person is capable of notifying authorities, the passenger must do so.
For the report, if you weren't the owner of the vehicle you were driving, the owner may complete the report.
Accidents with Unoccupied Vehicles
You're backing out of a parking space. You swear you have enough room to safely maneuver your vehicle and be on your way, but, that annoying astigmatism of yours gets in the way, and you end up putting a dent into the front fender of some poor soul's vehicle.
What should you do?
For this and all other accidents involving an unoccupied vehicle, you're required to attach a note to the damaged vehicle. List your name and address, as well as the owner's name and address of the vehicle you're driving (if it's not your vehicle). Make sure to write legibly, include a description of what happened, and affix the note to the vehicle in a secure, easy-to-see location.
However, before you leave the note, make a reasonable attempt to locate the other vehicle's driver.
Should the accident result in damage to someone's property (other than a vehicle), you must try to locate the property owner or person in charge of the property. Give that person your name, address, and vehicle registration number.
The state is serious about following the proper procedures following an accident. Failing to stop at the scene or comply with other accident procedures could be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the accident, as well as having your driver's license revoked.
A Word about Legal Representation
When you're involved in an accident, it's much better to have someone on your side than to go it alone.
If you're lucky, you'll walk away from a vehicle accident unscathed; however, this isn't the case.
Driving While Intoxicated
You especially want legal representation if the accident involves anyone who was driving while intoxicated―it's against the law and carries serious ramifications.
You're best bet is to contact a DWI attorney as soon as you get home or the guard allows you that one phone call.