What to do after a hit and run in Albuquerque

April 17th, 2023 | by RON BELL

What to do after a hit and run in Albuquerque

When involved in any type of car accident, whether you are injured or not, the typical initial reaction is to panic. In hit and run accidents, that instinct may cause someone to flee the scene – either out of fear of the consequences of their actions, their inability to pay for the damages they’ve caused, a lack of proper insurance coverage, or simply because they’re unaware they caused the accident at all. When the guilty party leaves the scene of a wreck, the victim is left to figure out the next steps on their own. Thoughts can start to fill your head: How will I pay for my medical expenses? How will I pay to get my car fixed? How could someone do this? If you’ve been a victim of a hit and run accident in New Mexico, an experienced Albuquerque injury attorney at Ron Bell Injury Lawyers can help.

Hit and Run Statistics in New Mexico

According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, hit and runs are a consistent threat to motorists. In 2020 alone, hit and run crashes accounted for 17.6% of all crashes, which is similar to previous years with 2018 being at 17.9% and 2019 being at 17.3%.

Additionally, in Albuquerque, there were 20 fatal pedestrian hit and run crashes recorded in 2021 and 6 reported in 2022. Although that is a significant drop, they are still occurring at an alarming rate.

Important Steps to Take After a Hit and Run


When involved in a hit and run, there are a few important steps you should take:

  1. Check yourself, any passengers, and any other individuals involved in the accident for injuries, and seek medical treatment.
  2. Call 911, especially if there are injuries.
  3. Gather contact information of any other witnesses.
  4. Take pictures of the scene.

Under normal circumstances, even in a minor car accident, you should exchange information with the other driver and have the other driver provide their information to a responding law enforcement officer. However, assuming the negligent party has fled the scene, this may not be possible. This is why contacting law enforcement, obtaining contact information from other witnesses, and gathering evidence is critical to establishing a timeline of events.

Additionally, report the accident to your insurance company, but stick to the facts. Insurance companies may try to use any additional information against you when making you a settlement offer after the wreck. Avoid saying ‘I’m okay’, ‘I’m not injured’, or admitting any type of fault.

If you are injured, call an experienced car accident lawyer. They can have all discussions with the insurance company while you focus on your recovery.

New Mexico Car Wreck Laws

In New Mexico, you are required by law to report a car accident if there are injuries (or death), if damage to the vehicles involved adds up to over $500, a commercial vehicle was involved, or if the wreck occurs on a state highway. To report a car accident, you can call the police or file the report online. If the other person who caused the accident flees, you may assume you don’t have to report it and just need to call your insurance company. However, it is required, if you are injured, to report the accident to your local police. Getting law enforcement involved will allow them to look into finding the negligent driver and establish a written report while you get treatment for your injuries.

New Mexico Car Insurance Laws

Like many other states, New Mexico has strict requirements on liability insurance for operators of motor vehicles. Those minimum requirements, according to the Motor Vehicle Division of New Mexico, include:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person in any accident, subject to this limit for one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in any one accident
  • $10,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident

Although there are requirements in place to help victims of car wrecks, if you are the victim of a hit and only have minimum liability coverage, you may run into financial struggles if you’re unable to identify the negligent driver. That’s because liability insurance only protects other drivers harmed by wrecks that you cause, not the other way around. In addition, many hit and run drivers flee the scene because they don’t have insurance at all and are afraid of the consequences they’ll face. Even if they stayed on the scene, that could still leave you with a stack of medical expenses. One of the best ways to financially protect yourself if you happen to get involved in a hit and run is to prepare for it and have your own UM/UIM coverage.

Liability Coverage vs. UM/UIM Coverage

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage can include bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. This type of insurance, usually required by state law, is meant to protect you financially if you cause an accident – to pay for the other person’s damages. However, when involved in an accident that is not your fault, the other person’s liability coverage is what could be awarded to you to assist in paying medical expenses and property damage costs. If you are involved in a hit and run, and don’t have the other person’s insurance information, this type of coverage will prove useless to you, as you can’t use your own liability coverage to pay for your own medical expenses.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage

According to study done in 2019, New Mexico ranked 4th in the nation for the amount of uninsured drivers, accounting for nearly 21.8% of all drivers on the road. Getting into a car wreck with an uninsured/underinsured motorist can sometimes be just as financially detrimental as getting in a hit and run accident. Luckily, there is a type of insurance coverage called UM/UIM coverage that could prove very beneficial to you if involved in a wreck of this type that was not your fault. UM/UIM coverage can protect you if the person who hit you has no liability insurance (which is illegal, but common), if their liability insurance does not cover your damages to the extent that it needs to, or if you are a victim of a hit and run. This type of policy can cover bodily harm and property damage up to a certain limit that is a result of the accident.

Scenario: Let’s say you are driving along I-40, when you’re suddenly hit by another driver who crossed over into your lane. You pull over, but they flee the scene. It all happened so fast that you are unable to get the license plate of the other car.

Situation 1: You only have the minimum liability coverage and no UM/UIM coverage. Any medical expenses, lost wages, property damage costs, and pain and suffering would now be your sole financial responsibility, unless they find the person who hit you and they have the legally required liability coverage.

Situation 2: You have the minimum liability coverage and UM/UIM coverage. The UM/UIM coverage that you have will cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage costs, and pain and suffering up to the limit you chose when you signed up for the coverage.

Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Being involved in a hit and run accident can be terrifying as well as frustrating. Navigating all of the insurance policies and state laws, as well as communicating with the insurance company and trying to recover from your injuries all at the same time can become extremely overwhelming. An experienced personal injury lawyer can support you in your recovery – financially, mentally, and physically.

Taking the time to discuss your options after a wreck is an important step in deciding what comes next. Our team of dedicated attorneys at Ron Bell Injury Lawyers has the experience and knowledge to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Even if you have substantial insurance coverage, insurance companies can still give you a low-ball settlement offer for your claim, when in reality you deserve much more.

Our team knows what to look for within your policies and can demand you get what you deserve. Especially if involved in a hit and run and unable to ever find the person who hit you, we will do our best to make sure you get every penny your policy allows. Contact us today at 898-BELL for a free hit and run consultation.

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