You accidentally rear-ended someone with a little tap. Is it really worth it going through your insurance or is it easier to settle the claim on your own and paying for the damage out of your own pocket?
People are often concerned about their insurance premiums going up when they are at fault for a car accident. That's what people who settle privately are trying to avoid! Each time you are at fault for an accident, your insurance rate goes up by around 20%-40%. If you get into car accidents that are your fault often, you may become uninsurable.
It is crucial to consult with an attorney before deciding to settle a car accident privately as there may be issues that you would not typically foresee that an attorney will.
Why You Should Not Settle a Car Accident Privately
Undetected Vehicle Damage
You don't really know the extent of the damages and neither does the other driver. Sometimes damages that appear to be minor are actually more serious than what you would think as it could possibly have damages underneath the frame.
Possible Injuries That Arise Later
Oftentimes, drivers of vehicles seem to be fine after an accident but can have injuries arise weeks later. If the person requires treatment, they may want you to pay for it. Weeks later if you decide that you can not afford to pay the medical bills and decide to go through insurance, they may deny the claim as they were never made aware of the crash. In this case, you may be stuck paying the other driver's bills and can possibly be sued.
Obligated to Report the Accident
If you don't report an accident as soon as possible, a future claim from that accident may be denied by the insurance company, leaving you to be responsible for all the payments
But, is it legal to pay cash for an accident?
California laws state that the at-fault driver is legally obligated to compensate you for any losses sustained in the accident. So it is perfectly legal for someone to offer you cash, the same way it is legal for you to accept it.