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Should I Accept a Cash Offer From an At-Fault Driver in Georgia?

The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be an incredibly confusing experience. The priority must be seeking medical care and ensuring safety. However, there are times when an at-fault driver could offer you cash after a vehicle accident. Here, we want to discuss why accepting a cash offer from the at-fault driver is a bad idea. We also want to discuss the vehicle accident reporting requirements in place under Georgia law.

Reporting the Accident to Law Enforcement

The vast majority of vehicle accidents that occur in the state of Georgia must be reported to law enforcement officials. State law says that individuals must call 911 to report a crash under the following circumstances:

  • If there was any injury or fatality
  • If property damage exceeds $500
  • If reporting the crash is required by your insurance carrier
  • If the incident occurred in a jurisdiction where reporting is mandatory

We mentioned these Georgia vehicle accident reporting requirements because it is not uncommon for one or more parties at an accident scene to discourage calling law enforcement. This can occur for various reasons, but often because individuals do not want to report the incident to their insurance carrier to increase their premiums. It could also be the case that an individual does not have insurance and does not want to receive a citation from law enforcement.

Sometimes, individuals at the scene of an accident will make an immediate cash offer. Usually, the cash offer comes from the individual who allegedly caused the incident. It is crucial to follow Georgia law and report any vehicle accident that is required to be reported. This makes the accident official because law enforcement will investigate and fill out an accident report.

Why Accepting a Cash Offer is a Bad Idea

On the surface, accepting a cash offer may not seem like a bad idea, especially if you think you do not have any injuries or if property damage seems relatively minor. However, it is not uncommon for individuals to realize later on that their injuries or property damage are more significant than they initially thought. By accepting a cash offer at the scene of the incident and failing to report the incident to law enforcement, it can be very challenging to go back and file an official claim.

Besides, there is no guarantee you will receive the cash – after all, who carries a significant amount of cash on them anyway?

At the scene of a crash, there is no way to properly inspect a vehicle, and even seemingly minor damage on the outside of a vehicle could hide thousands of dollars worth of damage to the frame of the vehicle that is not immediately visible.

More importantly, there are times when injury symptoms do not arise until hours or days after the incident occurs. Sometimes, hidden injuries such as concussions, internal organ damage or bleeding, and whiplash may appear later and lead to significant medical expenses. Without having filed an official accident report and insurance claim, it may not be possible to go back and secure compensation for these injuries.

If you have any questions about whether or not you should accept any kind of cash offer from an at-fault party after an accident, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney for an immediate free consultation. Here is an early hint to what an attorney is likely to tell you – do not accept the cash offer. Call the police and ensure that an accident report is completed. Let an attorney help you deal with the insurance carrier so you can recover compensation.