When you've been in an accident and you and the other motorist have stepped out of your vehicles to discuss what happened, it's customary to either call the police or exchange information and then be on your way. You might therefore be surprised if the other motorist offers you some cash as a way of acknowledging his or her role in the incident. Taking the cash might be tempting, especially if it's a particularly large sum. However, this scenario should definitely raise some red flags in your mind. It's a good idea to decline the offer of cash and, instead, proceed as you were originally going to do — by calling the police or getting the other driver's information. Here are some things to know about this scenario.
Reasons For The Offer
Motorists may offer cash at the side of the road following an accident for a multitude of reasons. If the person knows that he or she was at fault for the collision and is concerned about facing legal action, he or she may feel that offering money will prevent such legal action from taking place in the future. Someone who offers money may also either be driving without a license or insurance or may even have a warrant out for his or her arrest — and doesn't want the police to arrive at the scene.
Consequences Of Accepting The Money
You shouldn't ever accept cash after an accident, and there are several reasons why. While you could theoretically accept the cash and then decide to pursue legal action, the other driver's attorney will likely argue that your acceptance of cash was based on an agreement that you wouldn't take legal steps against the other driver. Your attorney can fight such a claim, but doing so just complicates your case. Additionally, a driver who offers cash is often in a hurry to leave the scene, which means that you might not get his or her license plate and name — two things that are instrumental should you wish to pursue legal action.
How To Decline
The person who is trying to hand you cash at the side of the road may be adamant that you take it — and perhaps even threaten you or otherwise attempt to coerce you into doing so. Remain calm but assertive, telling the other driver that you don't feel comfortable taking the cash and that you'd rather call the police. If you know of a local car accident attorney, you may even wish to call him or her from the scene to help you through this challenging situation.