Should I Accept Cash From an At-Fault Driver in Indiana?

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on January 26, 2024

. Updated on April 11, 2024


Cash is offered for a damaged vehicle.After a car crash, an at-fault driver may offer the victim cash to settle. Some victims may accept the cash offer without understanding the risk. When victims consent to a cash offer, it could disqualify them from being able to seek further compensation in an insurance claim.

In this blog, our South Bend car accident lawyers dive into what car crash victims need to know about accepting a cash offer from an at-fault driver. Also, if a victim does accept a cash offer, we discuss how it may affect their compensation during the settlement process.

If you are unsure what steps to take to pursue compensation after a car crash, we recommend discussing your situation with one of our knowledgeable lawyers. We can answer any questions that you may have during a free case review.

Call our office today to schedule your FREE case review. (844)-678-1800

Why Would an At-Fault Party Offer Victims a Cash Settlement?

At-fault parties who caused a crash may offer victims cash settlements for reasons that benefit them, such as:

  • Currently under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or another substance
  • Attempting to avoid being assessed with higher premiums
  • Avoiding getting a ticket or points on their licenses
  • They are uninsured or underinsured.
  • There is a warrant for their arrest.

Why Is It Important To Call the Police and Report the Crash?

Indiana law requires drivers to report crashes within 10 days of when they occurred. An at-fault driver may avoid filing a report because they fear certain consequences. However, victims can get into legal trouble if they accept cash from the at-fault party but fail to report a crash that falls under these criteria:

  • Property damages exceeding $1,000
  • Injuries
  • Death

Would Accepting a Cash Offer From an At-Fault Driver Be Considered Illegal?

It is not illegal for car crash victims to accept a cash offer from an at-fault driver. If the driver is negligent, they can offer you cash for property damage and/or medical expenses. That said, there are some risks that come with accepting a cash offer.

What Are Some of The Risks if You Accept a Cash Offer at the Crash Scene?

Below are some of the risks that victims may experience by accepting a cash offer:

You Do Not Yet Know the Full Extent of Your Injuries

Some injuries may have symptoms that take time to appear. Some injuries may have visible wounds, but symptoms may not show up until weeks or months later. One example of this is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Victims could also have serious internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding. Despite believing their injuries are minor, these individuals need immediate medical attention.

It is important to remember that after a crash, you may be in shock. In this state, you will likely not feel pain or be aware that something is wrong. Additionally, not all injuries, even serious ones, show physically on your body. For example, internal organ damage can be life-threatening if left untreated. However, you cannot know what damage you have unless you undergo diagnostic imaging, such as CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds. Victims cannot know the severity of their injuries until they have been properly examined.

Your Property Damages Are Not Yet Known

At the scene of the accident, you do not know how much it will cost to repair your property damage. While looking at your vehicle, for instance, it may seem like the damage is minor. However, later you may discover there is damage to the frame, or a small fender bender is far more costly than you thought. If you accepted a cash offer, it may not be enough to cover your property damages.

You Could Miss an Opportunity to Receive Other Types of Compensation

If you accept a cash offer instead of filing a claim after being involved in a crash, you could miss being compensated for other damages. Car crash victims have the right to pursue full compensation for damages caused by the at-fault party.

The driver who caused your crash may be eligible, for instance, for the following types of compensation:

  • Future medical expenses: Some injuries may be severe enough to require you to undergo ongoing treatment, such as physical therapy, surgery and treatment for secondary complications resulting from your initial injuries.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working or cause you to take a lower paying role due to not being able to perform your tasks, you should be compensated for that loss.
  • Emotional and physical suffering: The pain that victims suffer due to the crash, as well as the emotional toll it can take on their mental and physical health.

Your Claim May Be Denied If You File Later

You could be denied the ability to file a claim later, even if the cash you accepted from an at-fault driver is not enough. This is often because waiting to file until later may cause you to miss the state’s filing deadline.

Even if you do not miss the filing deadline, the insurance company could argue that your delay in filing means that you did not suffer from damage or injuries. They can also say that by accepting the cash offer, you have already been compensated for your damages.

Additionally, the insurance company could argue that you broke the law by not reporting a collision.

It is never a good idea to wait to file a claim. The insurance company could use your hesitation as a reason to devalue or deny your case.

Contact Our South Bend Office To Discuss Your Case Further

After a car crash, we do not recommend accepting a cash offer. You could be hurting your ability to seek the full compensation you need to aid your recovery. We also strongly recommend calling the police right away to protect your legal interests and to ensure the accident is properly reported and documented.

If you need assistance navigating the legal process, our knowledgeable attorneys are prepared to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. We understand how to accurately calculate the value of a claim to help ensure you recover full and fair compensation for your losses.

Call our office today for a FREE case review with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. We understand that compensation cannot undo the damage. However, it can help you to recover compensation for your medical expenses, property damage and other losses.

Contact our office today at (844)-678-1800 for answers to your legal questions.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases