Living so close to the U.S.-Mexico border allows many Texans to vacation in a different country without having to board an airplane. However, what happens if you get into a car accident on your trip? Can an attorney here in the U.S. help you? Can you use your insurance coverage?
Below, learn how our Fort Worth car accident attorneys at Anderson & Cummings may be able to help you after an accident in Mexico.
Know Before You Go
Mexico does not recognize American auto insurance policies, even though some companies offer endorsements for short trips into Mexico. Your best option may be to purchase a Mexican liability policy, which some Texas insurance agents do offer.
When purchasing the required coverage, be sure to check that it includes everyone traveling in the car with you. Some insurance add-ons to consider are uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection in case the person responsible for your accident is uninsured or underinsured.
Another important thing to know before driving across the border is that you may be jailed after an accident until the fault is determined. Because of this common practice, auto accidents are generally settled quickly at the scene, depending on the severity of injuries and property damage. Be sure to keep the following documents handy:
- Driver’s license
- Proof of insurance
Permits for Foreign Drivers in Mexico
In Mexico, all vehicles with a foreign plate must have a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) while driving anywhere outside the 25-kilometer border zone or anywhere else outside of the defined Free Zones, which are Baja California peninsula, a defined area in the state of Sonora and the southern state of Quintana Roo.
A TIP is a legal document that allows foreign-plated vehicles to be driven in Mexico for a certain period. Anyone found in violation of the TIP laws may face fines and even jail time.
What to do After an Accident Occurs
If you are involved in an accident while visiting Mexico, here are some things you should do after the crash:
- Try not to move your vehicle until the authorities arrive
- File a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible
- Gather all contact and insurance information from all parties involved
- Call an attorney who may be able to help bail you out of jail if no settlement can be determined right away
Under no circumstances should you give money to a police officer. Any posted bail will be paid to the courts. Generally, you should also avoid accepting any money from the parties involved in the crash until you have spoken to a licensed attorney who may help you settle the damages. If a settlement cannot be reached, you may be able to move forward with a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit in the U.S.
Generally, accidents that happen in Mexico are settled at the scene of the accident and most cases do not end in lawsuits. But sometimes lawsuits are filed.
Depending on the kind of insurance policy the at-fault driver has, whether he or she is a Mexican or U.S. citizen, there may be room to file a lawsuit against the insurance company if it is not offering a large enough settlement to cover all your damages, or if they are using bad faith practices to outright deny your claim.
One scenario where a lawsuit may be possible is if the person who is found to be at fault in your accident is an American citizen. Our attorneys will look at several factors to determine whether a lawsuit is the best course of action. If the person has the proper liability insurance to cover them in Mexico, our attorneys may be able to proceed through the claims process as we would in the U.S.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
An accident in any situation is stressful. But an accident while visiting another country may be more so.
If you were involved in an accident while visiting Mexico, call the law firm of Anderson & Cummings today so our attorneys may discuss the facts of your case in a no-cost consultation. We do not charge you anything up front or while we work on your claim.
Call us today at (817) 920-9000.