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Mexico - Car accidents procedure

It is imperative to have a car insurance in Mexico City. Not because it is required by law, but for your own peace of mind. It is specially advisable to get an insurance that includes liability, Bail and Counseling.
Law is a little bit confusing and with this insurance, no one can claim (not even a policeman) that they can take you to "la delegacion" (the local jail and police station). Always carry with you a cell phone.

If you are involved in a car accident, first of all, be calm. It doesn't matter whose fault it was in this moment. The important thing is to not let the other driver get away. Be prepared to spend at least 1 or 2 hours there.

Ask for the driver's license and write down all of the information you see on it. Or at least write down the car's license plate number and the car's characteristics (make, model, color, and any details).

Move the accidented vehicles from the travel lanes, so that you don't block traffic.

Call your insurance company right away. A good insurance agent will walk you through the tedious process, and will negotiate with the other party.

If you don't know where you are located, you may always stop a good samaritan (Mexicans are good at this), and have him/her explain to the insurance company where you are.

Some insurance companies send an agent in a van, where they invite you to sit, relax (or at least try to), and have a soda while they prepare all the necessary paperwork and arrange for a towtruck, if needed. Some others have their agents come in a motorcycle, to avoid traffic and get to the accident spot in less that 30 minutes.

If your car needs to be sent to the bodyshop for repair, the insurance company will guarantee the repair job from their "trusted bodyshops", but if you prefer original parts and paint, insist to have the job done at a manufacturer's dealership.

If children are riding with you, call someone to pick them up if possible.

While waiting for your insurance agent, don't speak to any policemen, even if they pressure you to do so. You may show your driver's license, but don't give in to any kind of pressure to give money or to sign anything at all. Wait until the insurance agent comes, and have him deal with the policeman. Some policemen will take both driver's licenses or car plates "under custody" to ensure that no one leaves the place. Don't argue, be patient, and wait for the insurance agent.

If you had an accident and carried no car insurance, the process would be long, bothersome and full of pitfalls, even for a native Mexico City person.

Special situations
If someone has been wounded at the accident, contact your cell phone emergency number and tell them your exact location. Or have a good samaritan call the Red Cross.

In the event that you are more seriously wounded (or the driver), and need to be taken to the hospital, remember NOT to sign anything in regards to the accident, only the hospital's paperwork. It sometimes happens that the other party's agent or lawyer, will hand the wounded and confused driver some papers waving the other driver from any responsibility.

If it is the case that the other driver tries to escape (to avoid paying for your property damage), write down very quickly the license plate number and any other details you can from the car. Then hand this information to the insurance agent.

In case someone is killed, the Bail and Legal Counseling insurance will take effect for the driver, and the driver will most likely be set free while the police experts and investigators work on the case. Anyway, it is extremely important to hire an "abogado penal" (an attorney specialized in criminal law) and involve him in the process as soon as possible. Look into our "Legal Assistance" section. If you don't carry a Bail and Legal Counseling insurance, by all means, don't sign anything until you have hired a Criminal Law attorney.

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