Hit-and-run accidents occur when a driver flees the scene after being involved in an accident. While people may be tempted to flee out of a fear of liability for the accident, leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and can carry serious consequences.
In New Mexico, it is illegal to leave the scene if you were involved in a car accident. This is true even if no one was injured. If two drivers have been involved in a car accident, both drivers must stop their cars and give the other driver and any injured persons their contact information, vehicle registration number, and insurance information.
Even if a driver damages a parked car, and no person is present at the time, the driver must attempt to locate the driver or owner of the car. If the driver or owner cannot be located, the driver is obligated to leave a note with his contact information, insurance information, vehicle registration number, and the contact information of the car owner.
Hit-and-run drivers may also be held liable by the victim or the victim’s family for injuries or damages caused by the accident. Given each driver’s obligation to remain at the scene and exchange information, police officers take hit-and-run accidents seriously. With the help of witnesses and video footage, police often track down drivers who flee the scene.
Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Confronted after Hit-and-Run
This is exactly what happened recently to former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Earlier this month, the former governor was involved in a fender bender in Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to one local news source, Richardson did not stop his car and exchange information with the other driver. Instead, he drove away. However, not long after the accident, a witness identified Richardson’s car. The police then tracked him down and found him at the state capitol building, where he was giving a televised interview.
The police officer informed Richardson that he had hit a vehicle earlier that day. Richardson originally downplayed the seriousness of the accident, saying, “I was at a stoplight and I think I just barely popped it.” The officer responded that it was enough to cause damage to both vehicles. As a result, not only did Richardson receive a fine for $81 for following a car too closely, but also he was charged with a misdemeanor crime for leaving the scene. Luckily, no one was injured in the accident, but that will not always be the case.
Have You Been Involved in a Hit-and-Run Accident?
If you have been involved in a New Mexico hit-and-run accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries. Even if the driver cannot initially be found, you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company. In either case, however, the opposing party is almost certainly going to put up a fight and contest your version of the events. The skilled lawyers at the Fine Law Firm are dedicated advocates with years of experience in all kinds of personal injury cases, including hit-and-run accidents. They know what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. To learn more about how to fight your case against a hit-and-run driver, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
The Importance of Jury Instructions in New Mexico Civil Cases, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 7, 2016.
New Mexico Officials Urge Drivers to Recognize Risk of Holiday Drunken Driving, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, December 8, 2015.