Settling Car Accident Claims Privately: When Is It A Good Idea?        

Car accidents are definitely amongst the most inconvenient and frustrating situations that anyone can experience. Besides the injuries, recovery process, financial strain, and lack of transport, filing a claim and awaiting compensation can be an extremely tiresome procedure. This is especially the case when the accident is not worth going through the trouble of negotiating with your insurance company and filing a legal claim. This may leave many people thinking that they might be better off settling the claim on their own. While it can be very risky, it is can be the better, more convenient option in some cases. So when is it a good idea to settle a car accident claim in private? Read on to find out.

When Should you Consider It?

Many car owners learn that not all accident claims can be settled in private. When you first get into an accident, it is very normal to feel shocked and overwhelmed. Typically, this is when you would feel most vulnerable, and of course, have clouded judgment. The other party may use your situation as an advantage to get you to settle things quickly and in private, as they would want to do anything to avoid having the police involved and a legal claim filed against them. They will likely approach you and offer to get your car fixed or pay you a certain amount of money as compensation. While this may seem ideal at the time, particularly when the accident doesn’t seem too serious, you shouldn’t rush into any decisions. Many accidents can appear minor at first glance; though, don’t be surprised when you find out that a fender bender leaves you with a software issue that only a professional mechanic can decipher. 

If you decide to settle things privately with the other party, the most important thing is that both of you should be in agreement. Find out specifically what the other driver intends to do; if they decide to report the accident to their insurance company, then you should report it to yours as well. You can’t prevent the other party from handling the situation the way they desire, so the best that you could do is stay on top of their intentions. If you want, you may also be able to convince them that obviously minor damages, such as broken tail lights, can be easily fixed by a direct payment. If you decide to contact your insurance company, you may be able to report the incident without filing a claim. However, keep in mind that some insurance companies do require it. You should also be aware that if the other party reports the incident and you don’t, this can complicate things on your side. 

Exchanging Information

Do not accept or exchange cash or checks at the scene of the accident. Instead, you should make sure to collect the other party’s name, phone number, address, license plate number, and driver’s license number. Make sure to keep note of their insurance information, as well as their car model, make, and color. The South Carolina lawyers at also suggest that you consult a lawyer before deciding to settle things privately. The lawyer can help you assess the severity of the accident, and determine whether the compensation that you will be receiving is fair or not. 

Police Report

Filing a police report even when you intend to settle things privately is a good idea. In some areas, you may be required to file a police report regardless of the situation as long as there is property damage. Other areas may only require you to file a report if the damages are above a specific amount of money or may not require you to file one at all. In any event, you should consider getting one, as having supportive evidence can be a good backup plan. 

Legally Binding Agreement

You should only agree to settle in private in the presence of a legally binding agreement. A valid contract law typically consists of three elements: an offer, acceptance, and consideration (usually money). This agreement will help protect your rights in case the other party backs out for any reason. You should also check for the validity of the document before proceeding. 

Car accidents can be highly inconvenient as they are usually very costly and time-consuming. When you get involved in a car accident, you are expected to follow through with a very troublesome procedure. From negotiating with your insurance company to fighting for your rights in court, filing a legal claim is no walk in the park. This is why it may sometimes be better to settle privately, but at the end of the day, it all depends on your situation.