It’s an unfortunately common scenario in today’s day and age: Two drivers are involved in an accident, and one driver – often the one likely at fault for the accident to begin with – approaches the other and asks if they can avoid insurance when handling any damages. This person promises to pay the other person directly.
At the offices of John D. Halepaska, we have some direct advice if this ever happens to you after an auto accident: Don’t do it. While it’s always possible that the other party is genuine and plans to pay you for all damages, more often this is not the case – and even if it is, you’re opening yourself up to significant risk. Let’s go over some of the basics to know here.
There are a few reasons why someone might ask you not to file an insurance claim. They might have premiums that will skyrocket if they’re in a documented accident, for instance, or worse yet they could have limited or even no insurance at all. And in still other cases, they might have arrest warrants or other issues that cause them to want to avoid police or the proceedings of an auto accident altogether.
Regardless of the reasoning, it’s best to obtain their information at the scene of the accident. In many states, this is actually the law when damages exceed a certain amount.
This is a difficult area to assess, because we all want to be good people on a daily basis. When someone pleads with us for a personal favor, even a stranger, many of our inclinations is to do whatever we can to help.
In terms of an area like this one, however, where your own finances and well-being could be on the line as well, you have to look out for yourself first. This means remembering that however nice and kind a person might seem while they’re begging for your help, you don’t truly know if you can trust them. You have no idea if they’ll follow through on paying you out of pocket, or whether they even have the money to do so. Unfortunately, many of these situations end with the person in question failing to pay as they said they would, or even denying the accident altogether.
To protect yourself at the scene of an accident, regardless of the other party’s pleas, follow these steps:
- Get their information, including driver’s license, registration and insurance. Smartphones make it easy to document all of this quickly.
- Contact police at the scene. If the other driver pressures you note to contact police, simply tell them that you have to and then remain in your vehicle until they arrive. If the other party flees the scene before this, report this to police as well along with the driver’s information you already collected.
- Report the accident to the other driver’s insurance company using the information you received.
- If you were injured, seek medical attention. Following this, seek the services of an auto accident attorney like those in our offices.
To learn more about this or any of our personal injury services, speak to the pros at the offices of John D. Halepaska today.