Road Traffic Accidents

Information on what to do if you are involved in a car accident in Mexico...

Minor traffic accidents in Mexico are common, and unless a serious accident occurs the police are not generally called.

Car insurance is not obligatory in all states of Mexico. However, Mexican states set minimum civil and criminal liability amounts a driver is responsible for in the event of death of the driver or others, therefore it is highly advisable to have car insurance to cover at least these minimum amounts.

If an incident occurs, both drivers should call their insurance companies who send out agents to take down details of the accident. Any damages are noted down, as well as the driver's ID, the vehicle registration and insurance policy details. The agents may resolve the situation on the spot, or the insurance companies may decide the matter later and contact their clients. It is not uncommon for two drivers to resolve minor issues between themselves, without contacting either the insurance company or the police.

If a driver is not satisfied with the decision of the insurance company, an official complaint can be registered with the district attorney and the case then goes to a court of law.

As in other countries, driving while drunk in Mexico is considered a serious criminal offense and if found to be over the limit while driving, a motorist could be sent to prison. Driving under the influence of drugs is also considered a criminal offense and the penalties are the same as those for drunk driving. Driving while under the influence also invalidates an insurance policy.

Serious Accidents

In more serious cases, it may be necessary to call the police (Tel: 911) so that drivers can be detained until the situation can be properly assessed. The agents of the respective insurance companies are also called to the scene of the accident.

Breakdown service

The nationwide motorway break-down and recovery service is known as the Green Angels (Los Angeles Verdes) and is operated by the Ministry of Tourism. It provides accident and emergency assistance, as well as more general information about tourism in Mexico.

Useful Terminology

Spanish English
Accidentes viales Road accidents
Culpables de accidentes de tránsito Guilty parties in traffic accidents
Daños a los bienes Damage to property
Daños a las personas Injury to individuals
Gastos médicos Medical expenses
Póliza (una) Insurance policy
Seguro Insurance
Seguro obligatorio automotriz Compulsory vehicle insurance
Victima Victim