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Hit and Run Property Damage
Definition and 7 Key Elements Explained

Laws regarding hit and run property damage vary by jurisdiction, but in most cases, they make it a legal requirement for people who are involved in a collision to remain at the scene and exchange information with the other party. Leaving the scene of an accident without doing so can result in criminal charges.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is a Hit and Run?

A hit and run refers to a situation in which a person involved in a traffic collision leaves the scene without stopping and fulfilling their legal obligations. Hit and run incidents can involve various scenarios, including accidents between vehicles, collisions with pedestrians, or damage to property.

Also Read: Types of Penalties for Hit and Run

Hit and Run Property Damage Laws

Hit and run property damage laws vary by jurisdiction, but in general, common elements and principles include:

  • Duty to Stop - After getting into a wreck that causes property damage, people are required by law to stop their vehicle immediately at the scene and make contact with the other party.
  • Exchange of Information - Individuals involved in an accident must exchange information (names, addresses, and vehicle registration) with the other party or parties.
  • Reporting the Accident - In most states, especially when property damage exceeds a certain amount, individuals must report the accident to law enforcement. Reporting laws vary by jurisdiction.
  • Criminal Offense - Leaving the scene of an accident that involves property damage without fulfilling the legal obligations is a crime. The seriousness of the crime depends on the extent of the property damage and whether anyone was injured.
  • Penalties - Penalties for a hit and run property damage accident may include criminal charges, fines, probation, community service, and potentially imprisonment. The specific penalties depend on state laws and the circumstances of the incident.
  • Civil Liability - In addition to criminal charges, people who leave the scene of an accident involving property damage may also face civil liability. Injured parties may file a lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, property damage, and other losses.
  • Insurance Consequences - Leaving the scene of a property damage accident may result in consequences with one's auto insurance. Insurance providers may view hit and run accidents negatively, possibly resulting in increased premiums or cancellation of coverage.

What To Do If You Were Involved in a Property Damage Accident

If you were involved in an automobile accident that involved property damage, it's important that you comply with the legal requirements, report the incident as required, and seek legal advice if necessary. Always contact law enforcement to report the accident and follow their guidance.

Remember that laws can vary by jurisdiction, so it's advisable to check the specific laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.

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