If you are driving down the road and all of a sudden feel a large crash coming from the rear of the vehicle, you know that a bunch of paper works and headaches are coming your way. Between filing accident reports, exchanging license and insurance information, and getting your car towed away, the scene of a car crash can be quite an annoying and stressful place. This is why settling in cash at the scene of the accident is often times a common occurrence.
There are many reasons somebody might not want to report an accident to the police or to their insurance company. Common reasons for doing so are that they do not have a valid license, they are driving without insurance, they are late for an appointment, and/or they simply have a mistrust of the police. In order to avoid the authorities, they would offer a large sum of cash or a check to keep the situation under wraps.
While walking away from a minor accident with a few thousand dollars in cash is tempting, it’s not always the smart decision. Although it may seem responsible at the time, it could end up being a costly decision down the road. These are some of the main reasons while accepting cash at the scene of the accident is not a good idea:
You Could Have Injuries That You Do Not Notice
Injuries sustained in car accidents do not always appear right away. After car accidents, passengers could be in shock or have adrenaline flowing through their veins. Because of this, they might not even notice an injury until hours or days after the accident. If you accept cash at the scene and do not report the accident to your insurance company, you could end up paying for all of your expensive medical bills out of pocket.
Neck injuries, for example, are often hard to diagnose right away. What starts off as a stiff neck could end up causing severe mobility and nerve damage down the road. Half of all injury claims from car accidents are neck injuries. Being expensive as they are to treat, the cost of these claims is estimated to be $9 billion per year.
Repair Costs Are Often Hard To Estimate
What if you accept $500 for minor bumper damage at the scene of the accident and you then go to get it fixed and the repairman estimates $3,000 dollars is needed to repair it? You would need to pay for it yourself out of pocket.
Most people are not able to accurately estimate repair costs. Unless you are a car mechanic by trade, you probably aren’t either. It’s almost always better to notify your insurance company immediately in order to have their specialists make their own appraisals.
Even what you think is a common fender bender could come with hidden costs. Often times in fender benders, there is hidden damage including damage behind the rear bumper, exhaust system damage, suspension damage, and unibody damage. It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry, which is why you should always have a professional look for structural damage after an accident.
You Won’t Have Money To Rent A Car
Even if the money you accept at the scene of the crash is enough to pay for all the damages sustained in the accident, it still might not be enough to cover all expenses that the accident caused. While your car is in the repair shop, you might need to drive a rental car. Most insurance policies cover the cost of a rental car following a car accident, but if you accept cash from the other party, you will have to pay for this cost by yourself.
You Do Not Know What His Or Her Ulterior Motives Are
As stated above, there are many reasons for wanting to pay off the other party involved in a car accident. By taking cash at the scene, you could be setting yourself up to be the target in an insurance fraud scam. A sneaky person could hit your car, convince you to accept his payment, and then file a police report on his own accord after you “flee” the scene.
Under this scam, you would then be charged with leaving the scene of a crime. You would have no good defense because it is proper protocol to file an accident report immediately following an accident. Because of this, your insurance company would have a tough time proving your innocence. The final, devastating result of this would you being sued by the perpetrator.
To protect yourself from all this potential trouble, remember to contact the police and your insurance company immediately after you are involved in an auto accident. Read our step-by-step guides to filing accident reports and insurance claims before you do anything else. In the world of multi-million dollar lawsuits that we live in, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!