What Do I Do if the At-Fault Driver Offers Me Cash on Scene?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on June 7, 2021 and updated on March 15, 2022.

counting cashWhen drivers cause car accidents, they often want to avoid the time and hassle of the legal process. That is why they sometimes offer cash to the victim at the scene. They are hoping they can offer cash in exchange for the victim either not calling the police and/or not filing an insurance claim.

While you may want to accept a cash offer, there is almost no way the offer will cover the full cost of your medical bills, lost wages and other damages. You may be surprised at how quickly medical expenses can add up, and it is unlikely the at-fault driver is carrying around thousands of dollars in cash.

Below, learn more about what you should do if the at-fault driver offers you cash at the scene. If you have questions about your rights and legal options after being injured in a crash, the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl are here to help.

You can schedule a free consultation by giving us a call. There are no upfront fees for our services – our Maryland auto accident attorneys do not get paid unless you get paid.

Is the At-Fault Driver Breaking the Law by Offering Me Cash?

Technically, no laws are being broken. As Maryland is an at-fault state, the driver who is found to be at fault for the crash is financially liable for your damages. Typically, at-fault drivers turn to their insurance to cover the victim’s damages, but they could fulfill their financial responsibility by paying the victim out of their own pocket.

That said, it is generally a bad idea to accept a cash offer at the scene. If you do accept an offer, you might not be able to file an insurance claim later. The insurance company may say your acceptance of a cash offer means the driver has fulfilled his or her financial responsibilities. If you need more money for medical bills or other damages, you may not be able to try to obtain that money from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

It is very likely you will need more money than the at-fault driver offers to pay for medical treatment, including the cost of:

  • Surgery
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Prescription drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Transportation to doctor’s appointments
  • Hospital stays

If you have ever had surgery and taken a look at the bill, you know there are so many expenses that come with surgery or a hospital stay. Prescription drugs are often expensive, particularly if you need to take them for an extended period.

Ask yourself why the at-fault driver is offering cash. Does he or she not have insurance? Does he or she simply want you to not file a claim because it may raise his or her insurance premium? Does he or she want to avoid a traffic citation?

While accepting cash may provide peace of mind in the short term, in the long run, it may be a huge mistake. If you do not obtain full compensation for your injuries you may be left with lingering pain and other symptoms that limit your ability to work. This could put you and your family in a financial crisis without the compensation to help you get out of it.

Why You Should Always Call the Police

The at-fault driver may say you can contact him or her later if you need more money or would like to file an insurance claim. There is just one problem: how do you know the driver is giving you the correct information? He or she could give you the wrong phone number and you would have no way to contact him or her.

That is why you should always call the police after a crash. The officer who responds can assess what happened and obtain contact information for everyone involved. He or she will include this information in a report that should help you file a claim. Without a police report, you may have a difficult time getting the insurance company to offer compensation.

It is important to note that Maryland requires you to a report any car crash where:

  • Someone gets hurt or killed
  • A domestic animal like a cat or dog got hit
  • One of the vehicles cannot be moved safely
  • The owner of the unattended vehicle that got hit cannot be located
  • A car needs to be towed
  • One of the parties involved refuses to exchange information
  • One of the drivers has no license
  • A driver fled the scene
  • One of the drivers is drunk

Having Trouble with the Insurance Company? We Are Here to Help

Crash victims quickly find out what the insurance company’s priorities are after a crash. They want to protect their bottom line, which means they do not want to offer full compensation for your injuries.

If your claim has been denied or you feel like the insurance company is dragging its feet or treating you unfairly, give us a call today to find out how we can assist you. We have helped numerous crash victims obtain fair compensation for their damages and there is no risk in contacting us because there are no upfront fees.

Free consultation. No upfront fees. Call 410-907-3957.