Having someone offer you cash following a car crash can certainly be tempting. Taking it, however, could be one of the worst things you’ll ever do. Offering cash is an admission of fault, but there is no way to tell whether or not you’re being given a fair deal. Following are several reasons why you should never accept money from someone who’s just bumped into your vehicle, even if they offer you an impressive sum.
You Haven’t Had Your Injuries Assessed
When a driver offers you money immediately after a collision, they’re likely only considering the damages that have been done to your car. Unfortunately, even minor fender benders can wind up wreaking havoc on your spinal alignment and your overall well-being. Moreover, the excitement and adrenaline that an accident always brings could leave you feeling far better than you actually are.
Many accident victims develop latent pain. This is evidence of an injury that only rears its head several hours, days, or even weeks after the event that has caused it. You may later discover that you’ve got whiplash or another form of joint dysfunction. Accident victims often find themselves dealing with the pain of:
- Pinched or compressed nerves
- Slipped or displaced discs
- Herniated discs
- Hairline fractures
- Muscle spasms
If your injuries are severe, you may even be in a state of shock that prevents you from feeling physical pain. The moments that follow an accident are always the wrong time to negotiate a fair settlement. You have yet to learn whether or not your injuries will entail expensive medical treatments, time away from work, or other losses.
Accepting Any Form of Settlement Could Leave You Without Further Options
Accepting monetary compensation for any damages at the scene of an accident could leave you unable to ask for more money in the future. This is especially true if you sign a release of claims or any other written agreement. Once a car accident is legally settled, it is not possible for claimants to request additional funds.
Although you may still have legal options after taking cash, pursuing a fair settlement in court will prove far more difficult. Taking cash and driving away without collecting insurance info will make this pursuit even harder. If you’ve made the mistake of accepting cash from an at-fault driver, contact the insurance company right away, and get in touch with a personal injury attorney.
It’s Impossible to Know the Full Range of Damages to Your Vehicle
Just as you can’t know how your body has been affected by a car accident until you’ve been seen by a medical doctor, you can’t be sure of the full extent of damage that’s been done to your car. There may be a number of problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. These can include:
- Damage to your exhaust system
- Damage behind your vehicle’s bumper
- Damage to your vehicle’s suspension
- Frame or unibody damage
Not only do you have the right to enjoy the same reliable transportation that you had before your accident, but you also have the right to have your auto restored to its pre-collision value. Before determining how much you should settle for after a car accident, it’s vital to get a repair estimate from a trusted mechanic.
Drivers Who Offer Cash Don’t Generally Share Their Insurance Information
There are plenty of good reasons to be leery of drivers who offer cash after crashing into you. More often than not, these individuals want to settle off the records because they have something to hide. It is important to always get the name, license number, and insurance information of the other party, and to file an official police report. These steps are always essential for protecting your interests.
It’s also important to note that there are a number of scams that people can pull when offering cash. For instance, if you take a cash offer and drive away without ever creating an official record of the event, the other driver could say that you backed into them and then fled the scene. There are simply too many risks in not having the event properly documented.
Taking cash can feel like the quickest and easiest way to get back to normal after a car accident. In reality, however, this is a decision that is virtually guaranteed to haunt you. As your medical bills, car repair fees, and lost wages add up, you’ll find that your damages amount to far more than you’ve been given. Thus, it is always best to collect the necessary information, file an accident report, and submit a formal claim.