What Should I Do if the At-Fault Driver Offers Me Cash After an Accident?

After a car accident, the at-fault driver may try to offer you cash in exchange for you not filing a claim with their insurance provider. They may want their insurance premiums to stay the same and would rather pay you money than deal with the insurance company. You may be wondering whether you should accept the cash or not. Before accepting the cash, you must understand the full extent of your damages. You want to only accept a cash offer that is low enough to find out later that the money will not cover all your damage or medical expenses.

Is Offering Cash at a Crash Scene Legal?

It may seem sketchy, but offering someone cash at an accident scene is not illegal. However, accepting cash in exchange for not filing an insurance claim can be unwise. The at-fault driver may be trying to avoid liability completely. Even though the proactive is not illegal, you should be wary of accepting cash after a collision. Drivers may offer cash for several reasons that are not beneficial to you:

  • The at-fault driver does not want the police involved in the matter to avoid the accident going on their driving record
  • The at-fault driver was violating the law at the time of the accident and did not want to be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The at-fault driver does not want their insurance premium to increase after reporting the accident
Should I Accept the Cash Offer?

You are not required to accept the at-fault driver’s cash offer. Although it can be tempting to obtain the money upfront, it is a bad idea to do so in many cases. First, you will not know the full extent of your damages at the accident scene. To understand how expensive it will be to repair your vehicle, you will need a quote from a collision repair shop. The at-fault driver may offer you far too little money for your damages.

You will not know the full extent of your injuries at the accident scene. Many injuries do not become fully apparent until hours or weeks later. The shock of the accident and resulting adrenaline can mask the pain you are feeling. This is particularly true with neck and back injuries, including whiplash. You also will not know how much time you need to take off work to recover. Finally, you will not be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering when you accept a cash offer at the scene.

Working with a car accident attorney is one of the best ways to grasp entirely all the expenses associated with the car accident. Also, unless you obtain the at-fault driver’s car insurance information, you will not be able to file a claim through their auto insurance policy. Even with this information, your claim could be weak without a police report supporting your version of events.

Should I Call the Police After an Accident?

A car offer should be a red flag that you will probably benefit from getting the police involved. The driver may be trying to avoid criminal charges for driving while intoxicated or texting while driving. No matter how minor the accident may seem, it may cause significant injuries. Getting the police involved can help you document what happened and help you prove that the at-fault driver was liable for your injuries.

The police officer will include his or her observation about the cause of the accident, whether traffic violations, like speeding or texting while driving, caused the collision, and the extent of the damages involved. These facts can help prove that the other driver’s negligence or recklessness caused your accident. Ensure you tell the police officer about the pain or injuries you have experienced so the officer can include those facts in the police report. You will be able to obtain the police report after it is written and may be able to use the report to bolster your legal claim for compensation.

Still, Trying to Figure Out What to Do? We Can Help

If the driver who caused your car accident made you a cash offer, you may wonder whether you should accept the offer. It is crucial that you discuss your case with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your legal options. The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, are here to help you protect your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about your rights.

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