It is pretty common for an at-fault driver to offer to just pay for damages at the crash scene. But there should be a big red flag. If someone is comfortable enough to offer you cash or some type of payment at the crash scene, it’s likely that they’ve done this before. What’s worse is that in no-fault states like Florida, if someone is offering you a payment, it means they’ve probably been sued at least once already.
When someone offers you to resolve any damages privately, you should almost always reject this offer. But this information may be coming to you too late. What happens after someone offers a discrete resolution of an auto collision? Your best bet is just to contact our Florida car accident attorneys.
Why Do People Offer to Resolve Crashes Through Cash?
There are situations that might justify not reporting the accident. For example, if you and the other driver have no injuries and there is clearly less than $1,000 in damages, then you can collectively agree to not report the crash. But the offer of resolving the wreck could be malicious, that other person could turn around and report it, or report injuries that they didn’t acknowledge at the scene, then it would seem as though you were avoiding reporting the crash.
The Offer to Resolve the Claim Privately
Typically when someone offers to resolve a claim privately, it happens at the crash site, and there’s some promise of monetary compensation for damages. In some situations, this is perfectly reasonable and may save both drivers time when it comes to resolving the crash. But for the victim of the accident, it can come with a unique set of dangers.
After the victims of an accident that agree to resolve a crash privately may struggle to get compensation directly from the at-fault driver. It may be an issue of the at-fault driver promising funds and then not delivering or providing false information, making it impossible to get in contact with them again.
Should You Take the Money?
Speaking on a larger scale, there are a few reasons why you should never take money for any type of damages without speaking to a professional. That professional could be a mechanic, an appraiser, or even waiting for your bill from your medical provider.
The thing is, people are terrible at estimating costs, and that includes costs for repairs as well as medical expenses. That shock when you see a bill at your auto shop or when you open the bill from a hospital really shouldn’t be so shocking. This is a shared experience; people from a wide variety of situations in life have that same shock when they go to pay an auto bill or a medical bill.
Additionally, there could be damage or injuries that you aren’t aware of right away. For example, a vehicle getting hit right near the tire well can knock off the balance and alignment throughout the vehicle and can be something that totals the car. Then there are invisible injuries that may not become apparent for days, weeks, or even months.
What Happens If I Already Took Payment at the Scene?
If you took payment for compensation at the scene, it might have closed out your rights to seek further compensation. Drivers have the right to settle claims privately without involving car insurance companies, but doing so may make it impossible for them to file a claim if they have additional damages that show up later.
If you already took payment at the scene and then other damages or injuries came to light, you may need legal help to move forward.
Getting Support for Full Resolution of Damages in Tampa
If someone offered you compensation at the crash site, then you might not have gotten the full resolution for all of your damages. Additionally, since the crash took place in a no-fault state, you may have an even more difficult time arranging for compensation or a lawsuit in the event of extensive injury or fault. For example, if the driver was street racing and offered you cash at the scene, it may make it impossible for you to seek compensation for their extreme negligence later.
Before you decide to accept cash, or if you realize that this type of offer was a mistake, then contact Winters Yonker of Tampa, FL. At Winters Yonker Law Offices, you can explore all of your resolution options and identify what was and was not within the legal scope in terms of resolving the crash privately.