What if the At-Fault Driver Offers Me Cash at the Accident Scene?
Sometimes after a crash, the other driver might admit to being at fault and may even offer you cash at the scene. At first, this could seem like a great way to avoid the hassle of calling the police or filing an insurance claim. However, there are many reasons accepting a cash offer from the at-fault driver is a bad idea. To start with, it is highly unlikely that this offer will even begin to cover the full value of your claim. At High Stakes Injury Law, we have represented many injured clients over the years, and that includes a lot of car crash victims. We are committed to helping victims recover maximum compensation for medical costs, lost wages and other damages they did not cause. Not sure what to do after a car crash? Our knowledgeable Las Vegas vehicle crash lawyers can help you. Contact our firm anytime, night or day, to learn more about your legal options.
Could Accepting a Cash Offer From the At-Fault Driver Cause Problems?There are a lot of problems that could arise from accepting a cash offer from the at-fault driver. For starters, right after a crash, you are likely still in shock. An offer of cash may initially seem tempting. However, it is a bad idea to make critical decisions right after an accident when you may not be thinking clearly. It is also risky to accept any offer to settle while so little is known about your damages. These are some common issues you could face after accepting a cash offer from the at-fault driver:
Accepting Cash May Be Considered a Final Settlement AgreementAccepting a cash offer may prevent you from being able to file a claim for full compensation later. The insurance company may try to say that by accepting the at-fault driver’s cash offer, you have agreed to a final settlement.
The Extent and Severity of Your Injuries Is Still UnknownYou cannot know the full extent of any injuries you sustained without getting a medical examination. There is a great risk in accepting a cash offer before you seek medical care after a crash. You could have internal injuries, such as a concussion or organ damage, or need surgery or physical therapy. Unfortunately, unless you seek medical care immediately, it will be difficult to link your injuries to the crash at all. Even if you file a claim later, the insurance company will likely argue that you could have been hurt elsewhere. Additionally, if you have injuries, a cash offer is not likely to cover many of these and other costs:
- Diagnostic testing
- Emergency medical care
- Cost of prescription or over-the-counter medication
- Transportation to and from your appointments
- Surgeries you may need, now or in the future
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- Loss of income
- Mobility devices, such as crutches or prosthetics
- Lost companionship or enjoyment of life
You Do Not Know How Much It Will Cost to Repair or Replace Your VehicleMuch like your own injuries, it is impossible to know what damage your vehicle sustained right after the crash. You will need the mechanic to examine the vehicle to determine your total repair costs. In some cases, a vehicle cannot be repaired and may need to be replaced.
You Could Be Eligible to Receive Additional CompensationYou cannot know the full value of your claim right after a crash. There are too many unanswered questions, and it is too soon to know what other compensation you may need. You could have additional pain and suffering. For instance, if you suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression as the result of your crash. After a crash, the full value of a crash victim’s non-economic damages is often not known for weeks, months or longer. Additionally, your damaged vehicle will have lost its pre-crash value. Since Nevada is a diminished recovery state, you may also be eligible for diminished value damages.
Why Would the At-Fault Driver Offer You Cash?An at-fault driver who offers you cash is often someone who does not want the police or the insurance company involved. For example, the at-fault driver may offer you cash because he or she:
- Has prior traffic violations and is worried about losing his or her license
- Is impaired by alcohol or other substances and wants to avoid trouble with the law
- Wants to keep his or her insurance premiums from going up
- Does not want points added to his or her driving record
Is it Illegal for the At-Fault Party to Offer You Cash in Lieu of Calling Police?If the crash is minor, you may not be obligated to call police to the scene. However, calling police after a crash helps to ensure you have an official record of what happened. This document provides a lot of useful information if you end up filing a claim. Offering cash is not illegal if it is not used to try to prevent police from being called to the scene.
When Nevada Drivers Must Call Police After a CrashIn Nevada, there are times when drivers are legally required to notify police after a crash. This includes any traffic accident where:
- There are injuries
- Someone was killed
- There are approximately $750 or more in property damages