What Should I Do If a Driver Offers Me Cash After an Accident?
Sometimes, one driver will attempt to pay the other at the scene of an accident. This usually happens when they are clearly at fault. There could be any number of reasons why they wish to settle this way. Perhaps they are worried about their insurance premiums going up. Maybe they have points on their license, and they are afraid they could have it revoked.
Whatever the reason, a driver who offers you money at the scene is almost certainly serving themselves. Taking this offer is not advised.
Reasons to Avoid Taking Money from an At-Fault Driver
Oklahoma Is an At-Fault State
Insurance in Oklahoma is designed to cover the person who is not responsible for an accident. When you’ve been hit, the other driver’s insurance should cover the costs of your car repairs and injuries. The driver responsible for a crash could see a rise in the cost of their insurance. This is one of the main reasons they may offer you money instead of allowing insurers to handle the matter.
The Sum Is Probably Insufficient
At the scene of an accident, there is no way to know how much the final bill will be. The car may look fine, and it might even appear to run smoothly. There could be, however, unseen damage that goes undetected for some time. A good insurance company makes the repair process smooth. Once you take your car in, mechanics can detect damage that you didn’t notice. They can make the necessary repairs, keeping you from having a much bigger mechanical problem later. As you wait for repairs, you are usually given a rental car for your daily needs. Car rentals get expensive quickly, especially if you need them for a significant amount of time. If you take a vague sum of money from a stranger, it may not come close to the overall cost to fix your car.
The same is true for any medical treatment you may need. You may feel okay right after an accident, but some injuries take time to be noticed. Most of us know that medical bills in the U.S. are large. Even when you have health insurance, your copays can be enormous if you need serious treatment. Furthermore, repairing your body is not like repairing a car. It can take multiple doctor visits and several treatments to correct your injuries. Some injuries cannot be corrected, leaving you with a permanent disability. When that happens, it can affect your employment or future earnings. Basically, injuries are expensive. A handful of cash is not going to help if you’ve been hurt.
The Driver Could Vanish
Remember, any driver who offers you money at the scene of an accident is not acting in your best interests. No matter how genuine they appear, they are still protecting themselves. You can take their name and number, but it ultimately won’t matter. Regardless of their honestly, fear could cause them to avoid you. At worst, they could be lying. They could give you a false name and number with no intention of ever speaking to you again. Once you leave the scene of the accident, you have no assurance that they will ever help you again.
Use Car Insurance First
Car insurance, by its very nature, protects you financially. This is especially true when you are not responsible for an accident. Liability is built into the at-fault system. The insurance company is prepared to pay for car repairs and medical treatment. If your injuries require more money than car insurance gives, you can fall back on health insurance to help cover the rest of the costs.
This is not to say that insurance companies are perfect. Sometimes, they avoid paying benefits, using technicalities and excuses. When this happens, you need the services of a skilled lawyer. Sometimes it takes an attorney to force insurance companies to do their jobs.
If you’ve been in an accident, contact your insurance company first. After that, reach out to us. We can give you a free consultation and help guide you on what to do next. If necessary, we can help fight insurance companies and bad faith drivers to get you the compensation you deserve. You can call us at (918) 347-6456 or fill out an online form here.