What Happens if You Accept a Money Offer at the Scene of Your Car Accident?
Let’s say that you are in a car accident. In your mind, you know what is coming: police, insurance companies, and although you do want and may need compensation for your injuries, the thought of getting an attorney and making claims just seems like a lot to handle.
Then the other driver, realizing his or her mistake, sends you a lifeline: quick money to settle the case. Let’s just leave police and insurance companies out of it. The driver’s offer: here is some money right now, let’s just “make the whole thing go away.”
Should you take that offer? What’s the harm? Turns out there may be a lot of harm.
No Report or Documentation
To begin with, if you drive away from the scene of an accident with injuries without informing the police, you could be breaking the law, as reporting accidents in those situations is mandatory.
But beyond that, you aren’t informing your insurance company of the accident. The failure to inform your own insurance company could jeopardize your ability to get important benefits, like payment for medical expenses or to fix your vehicle.
And because the other driver isn’t informing his or her insurance company of the accident, should you later need to make a claim on his or her insurance, that insurance company has no idea what happened in the accident.
In fact, you didn’t inform the police, so there’s no police report to document how the accident happened.
In the meantime, because at least at first you thought you would just “walk away” from the accident, no evidence has been preserved.
Your car may have been fixed, without taking pictures of the damage. Nobody noted skid marks on the road, what parts of whose car was lying in the roadway, or any other information that accident reconstructionists and insurance companies use, to see who was at fault for the accident.
No More Compensation Later
Perhaps the worst thing about just taking money at the scene of the accident, is that it is highly unlikely that whatever the other driver is offering, will fully compensate you for your damages. What if, days, weeks, or months later the accident it turns out that:
- You have to be out of work longer than you first thought you would?
- You need more medical procedures than you first thought you did?
- Your car is more damaged than you thought it was?
If any of those things do happen, and you find the other driver’s initial payment insufficient to compensate you, you are now out of luck. The other driver, and his insurance company, will consider the money the other driver offered, which you accepted, to be a full and final and complete settlement of every issue in the case. You won’t be able to come back for more later.
Call the Knoxville personal injury lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today if you have been in any kind of car accident.