Hitting a mailbox is similar to other minor traffic accidents and should be reported to the mailbox owner or the police. Because a mailbox is personal property, you or your insurance company will be liable for its repair or replacement. Leaving the scene of a collision with a mailbox is a crime in most jurisdictions.
After hitting a mailbox, your first priority should be safety. Before getting out of your vehicle to assess the damage, pull off the road to ensure that no further collisions occur. If possible, find the owner of the mailbox and notify him about the incident. If you approach the business or home that owns the mailbox and no one is available, contact the police and report the incident. If the damage to the mailbox and your car was minor, the police may suggest that you simply leave a note with your contact information; in some instances, they will prepare a police report that you can use to file a claim with your auto insurance company.
Leaving the Scene
Depending on where the accident took place, the extent of damage to the mailbox and the circumstances surrounding the collision, you may face either misdemeanor or felony charges if you leave the scene without notifying the proper parties.
Intentionally hitting a U.S. mailbox may constitute a federal crime, as they are protected under federal law. You may also be charged for accidental damage if you cause it while committing another crime, such as driving while intoxicated.
- Copenhaver, Ellett, & Derrico: Hit and Run / Leaving the Scene
- Shouse Law Group: Misdemeanor Hit and Run in California Vehicle Code 20002 VC
- Progressive: What Happens if an Accident Occurs in Your Own Driveway?
- Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute: 18 U.S. Code § 1705 - Destruction of Letter Boxes or Mail