Imagine that you’ve been involved in a car accident and it seems to be relatively minor. The driver of the other car offers to pay for the damage and your injuries. This can be tempting, and maybe you don’t feel too hurt and the damage doesn’t look too bad. Keeping a few hundred dollars and calling it a day can seem like a good idea. Maybe the other driver seems like a nice person, and accidents happen. He doesn’t want to get the insurance companies involved and have his rates go up.
Not a Good Idea
There are numerous reasons why you should never make this sort of deal at a car accident scene. Vehicle damage isn’t always that obvious, and injuries have a way of sneaking up on you. Car accidents are very stressful for the body. To cope, you will produce hormones known as endorphins, which mask pain. So even if you feel absolutely fine at the scene, there’s a good chance you will wake up the next morning with apparent pain.
That’s why you should give yourself a few days before making any decisions about your car accident. It’s best to take it a step further and not make any agreements directly with the driver who caused the accident because of the risk involved. As stated above, there may be more damage to your car than initially thought, or you may have a serious injury that didn’t present itself at the time of the accident. To make things worse, the driver who wanted to buy you out may reconsider his position. If too much time has passed since the accident, the insurance company may not even pay because you didn’t report the accident. Insurance policies require drivers to report accidents right away.
Insurance companies might not get away with avoiding the claim, but it’s still very possible, and it’s best not to take the chance. Do not make agreements with the other driver at the scene, or ever.
Can You Get Out of an Agreement Made at the Scene If You Change Your Mind?
It’s possible you can get out of your agreement, and there are many possible defenses against enforcement of an agreement made at the scene of the car accident. For instance, if the other driver threatened you in some way, the agreement would most likely become void. If there is a mutual mistake of fact, that will also void the agreement. For example, if both drivers agree that there is no damage to the car because it wasn’t visible, and then later it turns out that there is extensive damage, this is a mutual mistake of fact. Other defenses may be available, as well.
So sure, it is possible to get out of an agreement made at the scene, but why take the risk? Just like you shouldn’t accept an offer from the other driver, you of course should not make such an offer yourself. Why? For the same reason as above: it’s too risky. For example, if a shameless driver accepts your money at the scene and then denies the agreement and payment, you lost your money, and you cannot prove otherwise.