Car Accidents
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What is the first thing to do after a New Mexico car accident?

Anyone who has ever been in a car accident will know that the first reaction is shock. Everything happens so suddenly and most of the time it takes a few moments to gather your bearings and figure out what just happened. When there is an accident, injuries may be severe and emotions high. Right after the accident happens, there are some important steps you need to take immediately.

Always Stop After the Accident

Never leave the scene of an accident, even if the injuries or damage seems minor at the time. If you leave, not only are you giving up your opportunity to speak to authorities about what happened, but you may face serious criminal penalties for being a hit and run driver.

Contact the Authorities

After a crash, your first step should always be to call 911. This is important for two reasons. First, calling 911 ensures that an ambulance is sent to treat injured parties or transport them to the hospital. Even if there are no serious injuries, it is often helpful to have victims checked out by medics. Secondly, calling 911 and having the police come to the scene ensures that the accident will be appropriately documented. This report will become critically important because it will be an unbiased documentation of the accident.

Exchange Information With the Other Driver(s)

After calling 911, exchange information with the other drivers involved. Be sure to get the name of the driver, license plate number, driver’s insurance company name and policy number.

Take Photographs to Document the Scene of the Accident

If you injuries do not require you to go to the hospital immediately, it is important to take some photographs. Photos should be taken of all vehicles involved as well as of the accident scene. Be sure to photograph any skid marks, property damage to trees, light poles and any other stationary objects. If possible, take photographs before the vehicles are moved from the scene.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to notify them of the accident. If you have the name of the other driver’s insurance company, contact them as well. Once the claim is open, the insurance company will likely ask you questions about your injuries. Since the full extent of your injuries may not be known at that time,, we recommend that clients simply state that they are unsure at this point and will provide information later.

Note: Once you notify the insurance companies involved, you will start receiving phone calls and letters from them requesting information. If you are handling the claim on your own, it may be necessary to provide the information. If you plan to hire an attorney, it is best to ask the attorney how to handle communication with the insurance company.

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