While accepting money from another driver after a car accident may seem reasonable, here is why it’s generally not a good idea.
Auto insurance is meant to provide a safety net in car accidents, which is why drivers are legally required to carry it. In states like Missouri, being insured is the best way to secure your expenses if you suffer damage or injuries in a car accident.
Ideally, everyone would have insurance to back them up if they ever cause an accident. In reality, there are plenty of uninsured drivers involved in car accidents. In fact, in Missouri, around 14% of drivers don’t carry mandatory auto insurance.
In this case and other situations, you might be offered money by the other driver on the condition that you will not file a car accident claim. In certain scenarios, paying damages out of your pocket or accepting the money from the other driver may seem reasonable. However, it’s generally not a good idea.
Why would anyone accept money instead of going through the insurance claim process? Well, there are lots of minor accidents with minimal damage that cost much less to solve than letting the insurance know, as insurance premiums typically go up in case of an accident. Because of this, many drivers are tempted to accept direct payment from the other driver and settle everything amicably.
Possible Issues with Accepting Money from the Other Driver
Before you accept the amount offered by the other driver, take possible scenarios into account.
- The damage your property suffered might be bigger than you think, and what the other driver pays from their own pocket may not cover it. You also won’t have any leverage for getting more money, as they have no legal obligation towards you.
- If you have suffered any injuries that manifest later, you may not be able to file a claim to get compensation for your medical treatment.
- If you find out that the costs are greater than initially estimated, it might be too late to file a claim. Most insurance companies have very clear – and quite tight – deadlines regarding notifying them about an accident, seeing a doctor, and filing a car accident claim.
- If the other driver tries to solve everything without a car accident claim, they might also suggest that you don’t call the police at the scene. This would not only deprive you of having an essential document (the police report) in case anything goes wrong, but it’s also a legal requirement to call the police if there is certain damage or if there are injuries.
Speak With a St. Louis Car Accident Attorney
As car accident attorneys, we strongly advise you to go through the process of making a claim. Speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer, and see a doctor, even if your accident seemed relatively minor. An experienced attorney can help ensure that you do not settle for less than you legally deserve after an accident.
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!