Alarm bells should go off in your head if the at-fault motorist offers you cash at the scene of your auto collision in Flagstaff. You should never accept an offer of money to settle your claim and not call the police. You should not agree to any settlement without first consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Six Reasons the Negligent Motorist May Offer You Money at an Auto Crash Scene in Northern Arizona
Knowing the possible motivations that the driver who caused your car accident might have for offering you money can help you understand why it would be a big mistake in your case to accept their offer. Here are six leading reasons a driver may do this:
- Their driving record is already bad, and they may not want another traffic citation.
- They are worried that their auto insurance rates will increase if their insurance company finds out about the crash.
- They do not have any auto insurance as required by Arizona law.
- They may not want the police to investigate the crash because a warrant is out for their arrest.
- They may fear being arrested for DUI or reckless driving. Both crimes are serious criminal offenses in Arizona that carry serious punishments, such as a jail sentence, hefty fines, and a driver’s license suspension.
- They are trying to pay you less money than you deserve to settle your claim.
Why You Should Not Accept Cash at a Car Collision Scene
There are many reasons why it is never a good reason to accept money from a negligent driver. Here’s why it is a mistake to do this:
You Do Not Know the Full Extent of Your Injuries
You cannot know how seriously you are injured immediately after the collision. The symptoms of some injuries, such as back and spinal injuries, traumatic brain injury, and internal bleeding, could take days or more to develop. If you accept cash at the scene, you may be unable to file a claim with their insurance company for the medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity damages, and pain and suffering you are entitled to under Arizona law.
You Will Not Know How Much Your Claim Is Worth
You cannot estimate the full value of your claim against the negligent driver right after the crash. You will not know this until you fully recover from your injuries or you recover as much as possible, and your doctor can give you a final prognosis. You do not want to waive your rights by accepting the money and not be able to recover the cost of the medical treatments you will need and lost wages or lost earning capacity damages if you must take a pay cut or are permanently disabled due to your injuries.
Your Repair Costs Could Be More Expensive
You may not realize the full extent of the damages to your car until you obtain estimates on the cost of repairs from a mechanic. You do not want to be stuck paying an expensive bill that is the negligent driver’s responsibility to pay.
You Will Lose Evidence You Need to Prove Your Car Collision Case
If you believe you have settled your claim by accepting cash from the driver, you will lose crucial evidence that can help you win your car accident case. Helpful information you may not collect includes the following:
- Police report
- Contact information for the driver and their insurance company
- Witness contact information and statements
- Photos of the damage to the vehicles, the crash scene, and your injuries
- Surveillance video of nearby businesses that may have recorded your car accident as it occurred
Were You Injured in an Auto Accident in Northern Arizona or Flagstaff?
Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Flagstaff office at 928-226-0165 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today. Also, we invite you to order our free book, Injured in Northern Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You, to start learning about your rights.