Do You Really Have to Report a Car Accident to the Police?

Being involved in a car accident is usually not on your to-do list. Unfortunately, they have a way of happening at the worst possible time. 

If you are in a hurry or just aggravated in general, you may want to avoid the hassle of reporting the accident to the authorities and waiting for the police to arrive. However, before foregoing this step, it’s important to know what the law says and why contacting the police may be in your best interest. 

Is it legally required to contact the police after a car accident?

New Mexico law states that there are a few situations where you are legally obligated to contact the authorities and report the accident. One is if it appears that property damage is $500 or more and the other is if someone was injured or killed. 

What should you do while waiting for the police to arrive?

It can take the police a few minutes to arrive at the scene depending on traffic and your location. While waiting, it’s smart to see if anyone is hurt or needs medical assistance. If so, contact emergency services. You can also trade information with other drivers. Keep conversations to a minimum though, to ensure you don’t say something you shouldn’t (such as “I’m sorry”). 

What will the authorities do at the accident scene?

When the police get to your accident scene, they will take steps to ensure everyone is safe and that the vehicles are moved out of the way of oncoming traffic. At this point, they will begin collecting information from all parties involved and any witnesses, while documenting their observations in an official police report. Getting a fair resolution for a car accident claim depends on your evidence. A key piece of evidence is the police report. If you don’t report the accident, not only is it against the law (in some cases) but you won’t have this beneficial evidence.