When you approach the other driver after a crash to exchange information, he or she may try to offer you cash. The driver may say he or she wants to help you get medical treatment and pay for damage to your vehicle.
In the moment, especially if you are still in shock from your collision, it can be hard to resist taking the cash. You may have filed a car insurance claim before and struggled to get compensation. If you accept the cash right away, at least you are guaranteed to get something.
The problem is, you will likely need a lot more compensation than what the other driver is offering. Unfortunately, if you accept that cash offer, you may be unable to obtain any insurance compensation later.
Galloway Jefcoat explains what to do if an at-fault driver offers you cash in exchange for not calling the police and not filing an insurance claim. If you have legal questions after a vehicle collision, we are here to help. We represent car crash victims, helping them secure compensation for medical costs, lost wages and other damages.
Galloway Jefcoat has a proven track record. Call (337) 984-8020.
Why Do At-Fault Drivers Offer Cash at the Crash Scene?
At-fault drivers would like you to believe their offer is to provide money to pay for your medical bills and other damages. However, you should always be suspicious of a driver’s true intentions behind offering cash.
Often, drivers who offer cash:
- Lack car insurance
- Have an expired driver’s license
- Have a warrant for their arrest
- Are impaired by drugs or alcohol and want to avoid getting arrested for a DUI
- Want to avoid a traffic ticket
- Want to prevent their insurance premiums from going up after a claim is filed against their liability insurance
Are Drivers Allowed to Offer Cash to Victims?
Yes, at-fault drivers are allowed to offer and give you cash. It is also not illegal for victims to accept cash from an at-fault driver.
That said, the at-fault driver is not offering you cash because he or she really cares about your recovery. Rather, cash offers are made to benefit the at-fault driver.
Reasons Why You Should Not Accept a Cash Offer
There are a few reasons why you should not accept a cash offer from the driver who caused the accident.
Accepting a Cash Offer Closes Your Case
If you accept a cash offer from the at-fault driver, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. If you attempt to later file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they may tell you that it has already been closed. In this situation, it may not be possible to reopen the case, even with help from a Lafayette auto accident lawyer.
If the at-fault driver gave you contact information, you could try calling him or her to ask for more money. The driver may even have said to call him or her if you need more money. However, the driver could simply ignore your call. The driver has no further obligation to pay for your damages for a case that is likely closed. By paying you, the driver has fulfilled his or her legal obligations as the liable party for damages.
The Cash Offer is Unlikely to Cover All Your Costs
The fact is, a cash offer is extremely unlikely to come anywhere close to covering the damages you suffered in the collision. You need compensation for medical bills, vehicle damage and potentially other losses, like lost wages.
It is simply not possible to know the full extent of your damages right after the crash. You need to be examined by a qualified medical professional. Another factor to consider is that you may not respond well to treatment. This could mean it takes longer for you to recover than initially expected.
Your Injuries Could be Much Worse Than You Realize
Sometimes your injuries are more serious than you first realize. You could have a brain injury or internal organ damage. Adrenaline can help mask many symptoms of an injury or make victims think the injury is not that bad.
If you have ever suffered a serious injury or dealt with a chronic medical condition, you know how quickly medical costs can add up.
You May Have Additional Damages
You could have other damages that you may not have considered right after the crash. For instance, you might have to miss work to get treatment. It is also possible your injuries could affect your earning capacity if you cannot work as much as before.
Your car might be totaled. If that is the case, it is unlikely the at-fault driver gave you enough money to pay for a new car. You may not even have enough cash to cover a rental car for more than a few days.
You may have non-economic damages as well, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Mental health issues
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of companionship
- And more
Why it is Important to Call the Police After a Car Crash
From a legal standpoint, you are required to report any crash that results in death, injuries or more than $500 in property damage. It is fairly easy to cause at least $500 in property damage. Even if you do not initially feel pain, you may still have severe injuries. It is best to assume you have an injury or that there is more than $500 in property damage.
Calling the police is not just a requirement after a crash, it is also a good idea for your insurance claim. The police will investigate the scene and complete a report about the accident. This report contains details about what happened (how the crash occurred, contact information and insurance information, etc.). This report provides useful details that can help your attorney prove your claim to the insurance company.
The other driver may also have broken a traffic law, and this will be noted in the report. This is another detail that could help to prove liability for your damages.
If you do not call the police, the insurance company may try to deny your claim. They may say you are making up a story about the crash and that you are not really injured. The insurance company’s rationale is simple: how bad could the crash have been if you did not call the police?
Give Us a Call to Discuss Your Car Crash Claims
There is no cost to discuss your claim with a licensed attorney and find out if you have a valid case. We are ready to take your call and explain how we may be able to assist you.
Our firm does not charge upfront fees, so there are no costs to you unless we secure compensation.
Need legal assistance following a crash? Contact Galloway Jefcoat: (337) 984-8020.