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What if another driver offers you cash after an accident?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Car accidents happen all the time, and the vast majority of them result in some kind of insurance claim against an at-fault driver.

What happens, however, if a driver who has hit your vehicle offers you some quick cash just to cover your repairs and any inconvenience in exchange for forgetting that the accident ever happened?

You’ll need to consider the ramifications carefully

It’s not illegal for someone to offer you cash after a car accident – but it is questionable behavior. The odds are high that the other driver is trying to stay “under the radar” with their insurance company. They may already have open insurance claims and are worried about losing their coverage – or they’re worried about a long-term rate hike after a minor wreck.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Some car accidents must be reported to the authorities as a matter of law. In California, you’re required to report a crash if there are any injuries or property damage equal to $1,000 or more. Given the price of auto repairs these days, that’s not a high bar to meet.
  • You may not know the full extent of your injuries. Car accident victims are always urged to seek a full medical evaluation because a bump on the head can turn into a brain bleed and a bruise on your stomach from the seatbelt can turn out to be a sign of organ damage. That can turn into a much bigger issue, with a lot more associated expenses than what you’re being offered on the spot.
  • You could lose your ability to file a claim. Typically, a cash exchange means that the other driver isn’t going to give you their name or insurance information. That means – should you need to file a claim later – you will simply be out of luck.

It’s far wiser to insist on calling 911 and doing things “by the book” after a car accident. That way, you’ll leave your options open if you need to file a personal injury claim in the future.