What do you do if you hit a parked vehicle or structure?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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You may already know what to do if you get into a collision with another California driver. Remain at the scene, call the police, document the accident with photographs and exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. But what should you do if you collide with a parked vehicle, building or other structure?

The first thing you should do is try to find the owner of the vehicle or structure. The owner of the parked vehicle may be inside a nearby business, or if you struck a structure you may be able to find the owner of the premises. However, if you cannot find someone who is accountable for the vehicle or property you struck, per the California Department of Motor Vehicles this is not a “get out of jail free” card for departing the scene of the collision without consequences.

Instead you should leave a note securely attached to the vehicle or property. Leave your name, phone number and address, written legibly. The vehicle or property owner must be able to contact you to discuss the accident. You are also required to report the collision to the police, and leave necessary identifying information regarding both yourself and your vehicle. You may also wish to report the license plate number of the vehicle you struck, or the address of the property where the collision took place. The police will ask you for what identifying information they need.

This blog post is meant only as a reference and should not be misconstrued as actionable legal advice.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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