What Should I Do if the At-Fault Driver Offers Cash After a Car Crash?
After a car crash, you may be tempted to accept a cash offer from the at-fault driver. However, it could be risky to accept the cash, no matter how minor the collision, because you do not know what the extent of your damages will be.
Below, we discuss the downsides of accepting a cash offer from an at-fault driver after a collision and why you should speak to an attorney before accepting any offers.
If you were injured in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your damages. Our New Jersey auto collision attorneys are prepared to help you obtain maximum compensation from the insurance company. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
IS OFFERING CASH AT A CRASH SCENE ILLEGAL?
While it may sound sketchy to exchange cash after an accident, it is technically not illegal. After all, a person who causes a collision could be financially liable for your damages. What better way to cover those damages than by offering money up front?
Despite the practice not being illegal, it is important to be wary of a driver who would make a cash offer after a collision. There are various reasons why an at-fault driver may offer cash:
- The at-fault driver does not want the police involved in the matter to prevent the crash going on his or her driving record.
- The at-fault driver was breaking the law at the time of the crash, such as by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The at-fault driver does not want his or her insurance company involved which could result in having to pay higher premiums in the future.
Another point to keep in mind is that the at-fault driver may be trying to avoid liability altogether, and he or she might tell you that if you accept the offer, you cannot file a claim afterward. To get you to accept, the driver may even exchange contact information with you in case you need more money, it is unlikely you will hear from the person again.
SHOULD I ACCEPT A CASH OFFER FROM AN AT-FAULT DRIVER?
Although you may be tempted to accept a cash offer from the at-fault driver, it is usually a bad idea to do this.
For one, you do not know the extent of your damages. The chances of a cash offer covering the full cost of damages that exceed your no-fault coverage are slim. To get a full grasp on what your claim is worth you need to get proper medical attention, determine the extent of the damage to your vehicle and other personal property and see how much time you may miss at work.
Unless you get the at-fault driver’s car insurance information, you will be unable to file a claim with his or her liability policy. Even if you do get this information, your claim may be a weak one without a police report to support your version of events.
Accident victims in New Jersey may feel more emboldened to accept a cash offer because they can file a claim with their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. While you may be able to recover economic damages this way, you may have residual pain and suffering from your injuries. You may need to file a third-party claim to pursue compensation for pain and suffering.
SHOULD I CALL THE POLICE IF ANOTHER DRIVER MAKES A CASH OFFER?
A cash offer should be a huge red flag, and you should strongly consider getting the police involved, no matter how minor the crash may seem. Remember that even minor accidents can cause major injuries.
Getting the police involved after an accident will help you properly document what happened at the scene of the crash. On the police report, the officer may include his or her observations about the following:
- State of the involved drivers, including whether one or more were impaired
- Whether traffic violations, like speeding, were the cause of the collision
- Road and visibility conditions that may have contributed to the crash
- Extent of the damage to the involved vehicles to determine force of impact
- Whether medical services were requested at the scene of the crash
Once the police are involved, the at-fault driver will likely be discouraged from making a cash offer.
NOT SURE WHAT TO DO AFTER A CRASH? CALL US TODAY
If you are not sure what your options are after a crash, call our knowledgeable attorneys today. You can discuss your claim with a member of our legal team to determine what legal options may be available to you.
The consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees for our services. There is also no obligation to take legal action, so there is no risk to you.
Call (800) 518-0508 today to get started.