The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that a third of vehicle crashes in the U.S. go unreported. Drivers may choose not to file a report because they are uninsured. However, without a police report, car accident victims are forced to pay out of pocket for vehicle repairs and medical expenses. Police reports are critical to pursuing a personal injury claim and recovering accident expenses. But how do you file a police report in Rio Rancho? And why should you file one? Read on to learn more.
Requirements to File a Police Report in Rio Rancho
In some instances, the law requires you to file a police report. New Mexico law requires that you file a report if an accident involves injury or death, or if the damages exceed $500. If your accident happens within city limits report it to the Rio Rancho Police Department. If a crash happens outside city limits, for example, on some sections of U.S. 550, report the incident to the New Mexico State Police or the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office. If an officer responds to the scene, he/she must complete and submit a report to the New Mexico Department of Transportation within 24 hours. If you’re filing a report yourself, you must submit one within five days.
It’s Important to File a Police Report in Rio Rancho
If there are no injuries, fatalities, or damages exceeding $500, it may still be wise to file a police report. And it’s vital to file one if you plan to pursue an injury or damages claim. Whether you’re in a small fender-bender in a parking lot at Intel, or you’re T-boned while driving through a major intersection like U.S. 528 and Southern Boulevard, you may not be able to assess all the injury or damages at the scene. You may learn more about them over time, and you won’t be able to go back and re-create the scene or evidence when you’ve realized you need to seek damages.
A police report establishes a trusted, impartial, third-party version of events. These reports can help determine liability if you’re filing a claim against the other driver — and it can protect you from fraudulent claims they may try to make against you. If you’re involved in a collision where other vehicles aren’t involved, such as hitting an object or animal, the information provided on a police report will also still be helpful.
What a Police Report Includes
Police reports will include the following information:
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- Crash-related details, including a description of the weather conditions, vehicle damage, and resulting injuries or property damage
- A diagram of the accident (including the impact point)
- The names, addresses, and phone numbers of the people involved
- Statements from the people involved in the accident
- Accounts from eyewitnesses
- Record of any citations issued
The report may also include the officer’s findings of what happened and who is at fault.
How to File a Police Report in Rio Rancho
In Rio Rancho, to report a vehicle collision, you must call 911 (if it is an emergency) or (505) 891-7226 (for non-emergencies). For other needs, you can file a report online.
The officer will ask for or observe a variety of information for the report. This may include your license plate number; your driver’s license number; your name, phone number, and address; and your proof of insurance. They’ll ask about what led up to the accident, damage, and injuries. While they’ll be making their own observations of the scene, it’s also a good idea to take photos yourself. These photos will supplement the police report. You may want to collect photos of the damage to vehicles or property, and indicators of what unfolded leading up to the accident, such as tire marks on the road.
How to Get a Copy of the Police Report
If you would like a copy of the police report, you can request one from law enforcement. In Rio Rancho, that means going online to crashdocs.org. You’ll need the report or reference number, which the investigating officer should provide you before leaving the scene; the last name of the involved party; and the date of the crash to locate the report. There is a fee for the report. Also, keep in mind that the insurance adjuster handling your claim may also be able to request a copy of your report for free.
How Sanchez and Piñon Can Help
If you’ve experienced a vehicle crash, and you are seeking representation, contact Sanchez and Piñon, Rio Rancho’s auto accident and injury attorneys, for a free consultation. While other attorneys talk, we listen and provide a personal level of representation. We can discuss how to fight for the compensation you deserve.