If you’re in an auto accident, you don’t often think beyond your safety and the damage done to your vehicle. However, if you ran into a guardrail on the highway or stop sign on a local road, there are consequences. You may owe the city you’re in money if you’ve damaged any property.
City Property Damage
You may not realize that you’re as liable for the damage done to a city street sign as you are if you damaged another person’s car. We don’t often think of the things we see every day as being owned by someone. In fact, states and cities own all those traffic cones, street lights, and road signs we see every day.
Collision coverage will usually help you pay for your car repairs, but did you know that there is also damage liability insurance? Unfortunately, this insurance will only cover so much before you have to pay for the property damage yourself. In some states, refusing to pay for the damages can have serious consequences. Kansas, for example, will seize your income tax refund and possibly take away your license if you don’t pay.
It Adds Up
For perspective, California charges the following amounts if you damage the corresponding property:
- Traffic light: $3,000
- Parking meter: $700
- Concrete barrier: approximately $400
You may receive the bill for these damages as the direct cost, or as a lump sum after all the replacements and repairs have been made. Either way, the costs can add up and quickly overwhelm you if you’re not prepared.
If you are involved in an auto accident and you cause public property damage, you will be expected to pay. Don’t speak with anyone else about the details of your accident until you consult an experienced attorney.