Drivers in the State of New Mexico are required to carry minimum liability insurance, but that doesn’t mean they all do. If you have the misfortune of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver, here’s what you need to do:
Move to Safety
In the event of an auto collision, your first concern is your safety and that of your passengers. If your vehicle is drivable, move it to the side of the road, out of the path of traffic. Stay in or near your vehicle while you wait for first responders or law enforcement.
If your vehicle is not drivable, determine if it is safer for you to stay in your vehicle or move. If you must move, carefully check for oncoming traffic from all directions before stepping into traffic lanes.
Get Medical Help If Needed
If you, your passenger(s) or someone in the other vehicle is injured, call 9-1-1 or direct a bystander to make the call to get paramedics to the scene as quickly as possible.
You or a bystander may be required to provide first aid until help arrives.
Call the Police
If the accident only involves property damage or injuries are minor, you may opt not to call 9-1-1. However, you should call the police to report the accident. Only law enforcement can assign fault for an accident, and this information and an official police report may be required to process an accident claim.
While waiting for police to arrive, you should exchange information with the other driver. Make sure to get:
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Name of insurance carrier (in case they are underinsured as opposed to completely uninsured)
If they will allow it, take a snapshot of their driver’s license. That will have all the information (and more) you need.
Uninsured drivers stand to be penalized for not having the required minimum insurance. To avoid fines, they may offer you money to not call the police. Do not accept any offers for cash. This puts you at risk for:
- Having your insurance claim denied because you do not have an official police report
- Receiving significantly less than the actual cost of repairs
Document Details about the Accident
While you wait for police to arrive, you may start to gather documentation you will need for your insurance claim. Be sure to note:
- Time, date and location of the accident
- Weather and road conditions
- If there were witnesses present (if there are, get their names, contact information and a brief description of what they saw)
Take pictures of both vehicles. (Pro tip: get the other car’s license plate in the shot.)
Handling an accident with an uninsured driver is quite similar to handling an accident with an insured driver. Your first concern is always your safety and the safety of those around you.
Where the process diverges is when it comes to filing a claim with your insurance company. If you do not have uninsured driver accident coverage, you may be paying for repairs largely out of pocket.
In a state where approximately 30% of drivers are un- or under-insured, we highly recommend you get a policy that covers you in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.