How to Obtain an Accident Report in Albuquerque and New Mexico
In the bustling streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, car crashes that cause injuries are an unfortunate reality. The aftermath of an accident can quickly overwhelm those harmed in the collision. Injury victims will require crucial documentation to begin taking steps towards obtaining fair compensation. An accident report is one of the key pieces of evidence necessary for an Albuquerque personal injury claim. In this guide, we will outline all the essential steps you need to take to obtain or submit an accident report following a car crash. We will also discuss how an accident report can be used to build your personal injury claim, and how our team of Albuquerque car accident lawyers can help you if you’ve been hurt.
Why Is an Accident Report Important for a Personal Injury Claim?
Before discussing the process of obtaining an accident report, it’s critical to understand how much of an impact this documentation has on your injury claim. An accident report, often prepared by law enforcement officers who respond to the scene of a collision, can help to:
- Establish Liability: Accident reports document critical information about the accident. They include details that paint a picture of the circumstances surrounding a collision, such as the date, time, location, weather conditions, road conditions, and more. It may also include the names and contact information for other parties who were involved. All of this information can be vital in determining fault and establishing liability, which is essential in building a strong personal injury claim. While an accident report may not outright state who is at fault, the details within this documentation play a significant role when it comes to building your case.
- Document Witness Statements: The report may include statements from witnesses who saw the accident happen. Witness accounts can provide valuable insight that supports your version of events and strengthens your claim.
- Negotiate with Insurance Companies: When filing a personal injury claim, your insurance company will review information on the accident report to assess the validity of your claim and negotiate with other parties involved. Again, while the accident report may not go as far as to decide who is at fault, insurance companies will still analyze this data to verify information, as it will likely have an influence on any settlements they may offer.
Accident reports aren’t just helpful tools for your insurance claim. In New Mexico, accident reports are mandatory if a crash causes bodily injury or death to another person or if property damage exceeds $500. Below, we’ll detail how you can obtain or submit an accident report following a collision.
Obtaining an Accident Report in New Mexico
In New Mexico, the process of obtaining an accident report is relatively straightforward. If you’re injured in a car crash within the state of New Mexico, be sure to follow these crucial steps:
1. Contact Law Enforcement
After a car accident, the first step is to ensure law enforcement is called to the scene. If an injury has occurred, they will dispatch emergency personnel, including EMS if necessary. Once they arrive, officers will assess the scene and begin collecting information to include in the accident report. They will then submit a police report detailing the circumstances surrounding your collision. Ask the responding officer if you can obtain a report number, as this will make tracking your accident report easier in the future.
2. Request a Copy
To obtain a copy of the accident report, you will need to contact the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident. In New Mexico, these agencies include the local police department, the local sheriff’s office, or New Mexico State Police, depending on where the accident occurred. You can do this in-person by visiting the responding police department’s office.
You may also be able to obtain a copy of the police report online by using the LexisNexis portal. Several New Mexico police departments, including New Mexico State Police, utilize this portal for their accident reports. Simply select New Mexico for the state and select the jurisdiction that responded to the accident (i.e. Albuquerque Police Department, New Mexico State Police, Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department, etc.). Then, submit either the police report number or the details of your accident when prompted.
3. Pay a Fee
Requesting an accident report typically requires paying a small fee. The fee can vary depending on the law enforcement agency and the number of pages requested, but usually falls between $2.00 to $10.00 per copy.
4. Wait for Processing
Once you have submitted your request and paid the required fee, you may need to wait for the report to be processed.
5. Pick Up the Report
Once the accident report is ready, you can obtain it in several ways. The first is to pick up the report in person from the law enforcement agency’s records department. You can also elect to have the report sent to you via mail. You may also be able to have the report sent directly to you electronically, depending on the responding police department and their specific resources.
Obtaining an Accident Report in Albuquerque
If you’re involved in a collision within Albuquerque city limits, the Albuquerque police department will likely respond to the accident and be responsible for handling your accident report. Below are the steps you should take if you’re involved in a collision specifically within Albuquerque city limits:
1. Contact the Albuquerque Police Department (APD)
\ After the accident, ensure that you report it to the Albuquerque police department by calling 911 or the non-emergency number at 505-242-COPS (505-242-2677). Once officers arrive on the scene, they will begin documenting the necessary information and file an accident report.
2. Request a Copy
You can obtain a copy of your Albuquerque Police Report either in person or online. To request the report in person, you can visit the Law Enforcement Center at 400 Roma NW, Albuquerque, NM. Records requests are available between 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. The APD also utilizes LexisNexis to distribute reports online. Simply visit the website, select New Mexico as the state, Albuquerque Police Department as the jurisdiction, and fill in any additional information requested.
3. Pay the Report Fee
As with most accident reports, you will be required to pay a small fee to obtain a copy of your Albuquerque accident report. If you request the report online, you will be charged $7.50.
4. Wait for Processing
After submitting your request and paying the fee, you may need to wait for the report to be processed. The processing time can vary, so be patient. If you search for your report online and are unable to find it, note that reports can sometimes take several days to generate. If your accident was recent, you may need to wait a few days for it to be uploaded.
5. Pick Up the Report
Once your accident report is ready, you can collect it in person from the Records Division of the Albuquerque Police Department if you opted for an in-person request. If you made the request online, follow the instructions provided for document delivery.
Filing a Police Report Yourself
In accidents where injuries are not life-threatening or immediately apparent, an officer may not be sent to the scene. If law enforcement does not respond to the scene of the accident or file a report on your behalf, you will need to submit one yourself. You are obligated to report the collision if someone is hurt in the accident or if the property damage exceeds $500. Failing to do so can result in serious consequences, including legal action.
A driver is required to submit a report within 5 days of the accident. While some incident types can be reported online, motor vehicle accident reports must be submitted by phone. To complete an accident report yourself, you can contact the Albuquerque Police non-emergency number at 505-242-2677.
Adding Information to a Police Report
A collision happens suddenly, and in the chaos of the moment, you may not remember to convey every detail to the responding officer or when submitting your own accident report. Additionally, some details may not be immediately available when your report is submitted. In these instances, you may need to add further information after the document has already been submitted. If you find further details regarding the collision that need to be noted in your report, you can contact APD at 505-242-2677 and notify them with any additional information.
Ring the Bell! If You’ve Been Injured In a Wreck, Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
For over 40 years, our team has been helping injured victims in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico navigate the complexities of personal injury claims. We’re familiar with accident reports and how they’re used to negotiate settlements. We can obtain and review your accident report and use it to build the strongest case possible for your injury claim. Our team works on a contingency fee, which means you won’t owe us anything unless we’re able to get compensation for you. It won’t cost you a dime to have us review your accident report or see if we can help. Ring the Bell! Contact our experienced Albuquerque car accident lawyers today.
Call 898-BELL for a free consultation.