Vehicle accidents can be confusing experiences, particularly right after the incident occurs. Unfortunately, there are times when individuals at the scene of a crash try to handle things the wrong way. Just about every vehicle accident has to be reported to the police, and any compensation should be handled through insurance carriers. However, what happens if the at-fault driver offers you money at the scene of the crash?
What to Know About Accident Reporting
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the reality is that most vehicle accidents are going to need to be reported to law enforcement officials. Under Pa. C.S.A. § 3744, we can see that the law requires that accidents must be reported immediately if there is an injury or death or if the damage to any vehicle involved prevents the vehicle from driving away from the scene.
In addition to the legal requirement of reporting these accidents, a police report will be incredibly helpful when it comes to the insurance claim or moving forward with a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. Even if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver that flees the scene, you will need a police report to help recover any compensation from uninsured motorist benefits that you may be entitled to.
Never Take Money at the Accident Scene
If you get into an accident and the at-fault driver offers to pay you money at the scene, there is a reason that they do this. This could be because they do not have insurance. This could also be because they have insurance they do not want to file a claim because they do not want their premiums to rise. However, no matter what you do, never take money at the accident scene. Perhaps more nefariously, the at-fault driver could have a warrant out for their arrest or have some other reason they do not want the incident reported.
You need to ensure that police come to the scene and fill out an accident report, and you need to get the insurance information of the other driver (if they have insurance). In order to file your insurance claim, you need to have as much information as possible related to the incident. If you do not have a police report or information related to the other driver, your insurance carrier may deny the claim.
Pennsylvania has a mixed system of auto insurance laws. This state has a no-fault insurance system in place, but it allows individual drivers to opt out of the no-fault system and into a full-tort system.
If you have no-fault insurance, you may think that you can simply report the incident and recover compensation from your own carrier without an incident report from the other party. However, your insurance carrier is still going to want to see the accident report as well as the at-fault driver’s insurance information.
If you have full tort insurance coverage in Pennsylvania, then you certainly need the accident report and the insurance information of the other driver. Regardless of what type of insurance you carry, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, recovering this compensation will only be possible if you have an incident report as well as proof that the other driver did not have insurance.
If you take money at the scene of the accident and forgo the process of reporting the incident anywhere, you may end up with much less compensation than you deserve. There is no way for you to know right away the extent of the property damage to your vehicle or whether or not you have any hidden injuries that will show signs and symptoms later. Speak to a Philadelphia accident attorney today to learn more.