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You’ve just finished some grocery shopping, and you’re on your way to pick up the children from school. As you back out of your parking space, you feel a bump and hear the crunch; the SUV parked behind you has just rear-ended you. We’ve all been there, and it’s usually a hassle.

You have to exchange information with the other driver; you must contact your insurance company, and you know your car will be in the shop for repairs. Not to mention, the ice cream is melting and the kids are wondering where you are.

But it must be your lucky day, because the damage to your car looks minimal – it sounded worse than it looks – and the other driver is a really nice person.  He offers to settle the issue right on the spot by giving you cash to have your car fixed. This also means he expects this to be the end of the story.

Here are some reasons that accepting cash at the scene of a wreck is not a good idea:

  • There can be damage to your car that is not visible. Sometimes there is structural damage that may go deeper than your messed up bumper.
  • You could be injured and not know it right away. What if you have a bad headache or neck ache later that night? If you’ve taken the cash, you have no recourse.
  • And, unless you’ve had a wreck with an expert mechanic, you can’t know the complete damage to your vehicle until it has been examined by one.

According to expert mechanics, people routinely underestimate the cost of a repair to their car. For instance, a broken tail light may mean you have to replace the entire unit – not just a bulb. Unrepaired damage to your car’s alignment can cause uneven wear and tear on tires and you could even have a blowout.

It’s always best to take the time and exchange information with the other driver when you’re in a minor accident. Let your insurance company handle the rest – or your attorney, if needs be.

For legal advice in your area, consult our Online Legal Directory.

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