The first reaction we typically have immediately after a car accident is shock. It’s possible you’re jittery and hands are shaking. After first seeing if everyone is ok then checking on your car, you have to deal with the other driver. And there’s no telling how they’re going to react.
Some drivers will offer you cash on the spot to avoid the “hassle” of insurance. There could be a host of reasons they’re offering this, but you should not accept this if it’s offered to you.
Why Wouldn’t You File an Insurance Claim for the Accident?
If the at fault driver is offering you cash, it’s clear they don’t want to go through insurance. This could be for any number of reasons. Maybe they don’t have car insurance, they don’t want their premium to go up, or maybe they’re driving someone else’s car.
The best move is to get contact and insurance information from the other driver at the scene of the accident. This includes a phone number and current address. If you don’t, it could prove difficult or costly to track them down. The insurance company isn’t required to release this information if you need to find the driver to serve a lawsuit. Additionally, under California law, you must report an accident to the DMV within 10 days after your accident if it resulted in $1,000 or more in property damage or someone was killed.
Don’t let someone being nice fool you. This could be a trick to avoid paying you altogether, denying the accident happened, or attempting to switch the fault to you. Injuries and damages in car accidents will easily be several thousand dollars. And without being evaluated by a medical professional, it’s impossible for you to know at the scene how injured you might be.
Politely Decline Their Offer and Take Down Their Information For Your Own Protection
Tell the person you’d feel much more comfortable going through their insurance. That because of the accident, it’s not only your health at risk but possible damage to your vehicle as well. Because we almost all carry cell phones with cameras on them, it’s easy to collect this information. Take pictures of their driver’s license, registration, insurance, vehicle, and license plate.
You should contact the police and request an ambulance if you are injured. If the other driver doesn’t wish to call 911, remain in your vehicle while you call. If they leave, it is a criminal offense.
There is nothing the other driver can do to legally stop you from filing a claim with their insurance. But we don’t recommend speaking with their insurance until you’ve met with a car accident lawyer. Insurance companies have tricks like the recorded statement to try to lock you into saying you aren’t injured. They use this against you down the road to de-value or deny your claim. Adjusters are professional negotiators that are trained to do these things.
The lesson here is to always go through insurance when someone hits you. This is the safest way to protect yourself and your vehicle.
San Diego Car Accident Lawyer
My name is Daniel Hanecak and I am a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer. I know from personal experience how stressful and time consuming a car accident can be. When you call Hanecak Law Inc., you will speak with me directly. It is my aim to provide you with free and friendly advice. Call me today at 858-206-4DAN for a free case evaluation.