Should I Accept a Check From the At-fault Driver or the At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company?

Getting into a car accident can leave you frightened and confused about what to do next. As you go through the motions and the steps following a car crash, you may start to worry about the long road ahead in receiving compensation for your damages and injuries.

The lawyers at the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt know that a personal injury case can be a lengthy and complicated process. As you begin the process of developing a case against the negligent driver, it may feel tempting to accept a cash settlement from the at-fault driver. While this quick-fix solution may seem attractive at first, you may be questioning if it is the best option or if it is even legal.

Should I Accept a Check From the At-fault Driver or the At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company?

Almost always, the answer is no. There are several reasons why, but the most compelling might be this – the minute you cash that check, and it clears, that may settle the case. Never can you go back to the at-fault driver or their insurance company and try to pursue them for more money.

Call us right away at 443-844-1528 if you receive a check from the other driver or their insurance company. The Law Offices of Larry B. Litt can advise you if the amount is fair.

Is It Legal for the At-fault Driver To Offer You Cash?

It may seem a little suspicious if you receive a call from the at-fault driver offering you a cash settlement following an accident. While it is not illegal to offer someone cash after you cause a car collision, accepting that case settlement is often not the best option for the crash victim.

There are many reasons why someone may want to offer you cash rather than submitting an insurance claim or getting authorities involved. Some common reasons could be:

  • They do not want to increase their insurance premium
  • They do not want to risk receiving a traffic citation
  • They feel the paperwork and time it takes to submit an insurance claim is inconvenient
  • They may not have insurance and are worried they will get caught for driving without coverage
  • They may have a pending criminal case/open warrant/or in trouble with the law

While it may be tempting to accept cash after a car wreck, keep in mind it is probable that the other driver is offering you the cash for their benefit without much concern for you.

Your Claim Might Entitle You to More Compensation

Think about this from a logical perspective. If you owed somebody money and decided to reach out with an offer to pay, would you immediately offer up the full amount, or might you consider first seeing if they will accept a lower amount?

If you are a businessperson, you would probably reach out with the lower amount first. Insurance companies are businesses, and their reason for existing is to make a profit. One way they do this is by keeping expenses as low as possible. And an effective way to keep costs down is to pay less than they must on claims whenever possible.

So, you can assume when you receive an insurance settlement offer that it does not include the full amount you deserve. Rather then leaving money on the table by accepting it, consult with a lawyer about your options, and have your attorney negotiate for more money on your behalf.

Filing a Claim May Increase Your Compensation

After a car accident, you may have suffered damages like pain and suffering or property damage. If you are not the at-fault driver, then you may be owed compensation for those damages. Instead of accepting a cash settlement that may be much lower than your claim is worth, consider calling an experienced Baltimore injury auto accident attorney to help you file a car accident claim.

It is not likely that the at-fault driver knows the exact amount owed for the damages incurred during the accident. Even if they do, it is even less likely that they would offer you that total amount. While an insurance company may also try to offer you the lowest possible settlement amount, working with a personal injury accident attorney will give you the best chance at receiving a fair settlement. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt use a skilled approach when facing the aggressive tactics of insurance companies.

You Might Not Know the Extent of Your Injuries or the Amount of Your Future Bills

If you sustained injuries in the car collision, you might need ongoing treatment, the costs of which you may be eligible to recover from the at-fault party. An early settlement check from the at-fault driver or their insurance company will not consider for future medical costs.

If you have not consulted with an attorney, you might not even have an estimate for the cost of those bills. Rather than accepting a check without further investigation, work with a lawyer to calculate the amount you can reasonably expect to occur in medical expenses. This gives you a good starting point when negotiating for more money.

There Might Be Additional Damages You Can Recover

Car wreck victims often focus on their medical expenses and repair bills, but those are not the only damages for which you might be eligible to receive compensation.

Other damages include lost wages, reduced future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and punitive damages if evidence exists of reckless or malicious behavior by the at-fault driver. You also may be able to claim the following damages:

  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Temporary or permanent disability
  • Scarring and/or disfigurement
  • Loss of life enjoyment

But the insurance company or at-fault driver’s initial settlement offer is not likely to include such damages. Thus, wait to accept any checks or cash payment until you have consulted with a lawyer and are aware of the full scope of your claim.

Other Things To Consider Before Accepting a Check or Cash From the At-fault Driver or Their Insurance Company

If you are thinking about accepting the insurance companies check or cash from the at-fault driver, you may want to consider the following:

  • Do you know the full cost of your economic and non-economic losses?
  • Have you considered how much you will need to cover your medical expenses (current and ongoing) and any property damage?
  • Do you feel the financial offer is fair and meets your needs?
  • Have you read all the fine print on the agreement for the settlement amount?
  • Do you understand the agreed-upon terms and language in the release agreement before you sign the settlement check?
  • Are you comfortable with the settlement or cash offer?

What if I Have Already Received a Check?

If you gave your verbal consent to accept a settlement offer and a check is on the way, or you have it in your possession, DO NOT CASH IT!

The minute you cash it, that act may settle the case. It then becomes difficult to ever get any more money from the at-fault party or the insurance company. However, if you have not cashed the check, your lawyer can send it back along with a letter stating that you do not wish to settle your claim without further investigation and discussion.

What Can Happen if You Do Accept a Cash Settlement?

If you choose to accept a cash settlement after an accident but down the line want to make a personal injury claim, you may run into some issues:

  • Accepting a cash offer may make you ineligible to file a claim.
  • You may discover that the cash settlement you accepted does not cover your damages and you will likely not be able to receive additional money from the other driver.
  • The other driver may offer you cash in place of their insurance information, thus making it impossible to file a claim with their provider.

When it comes to receiving compensation following a car wreck, your best option is to seek the help of a Baltimore car collision injury attorney who has the experience to help you build a claim and can provide you with personalized legal advice.


Accepting a cash settlement after a car accident is an easy fix but may not be your best option for receiving fair compensation for your damages. Before you cash that check, call the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt. We are happy to evaluate your case and help you determine the best course of action. We can get started on your case as soon as possible. We work on contingency, so you do not have to pay us any fees to start. This means we can begin as soon as we work on the details of our arrangement.

Offering our clients dependable service and personalized care for each case, you can rest assured that our knowledgeable attorneys will do their best to recover the compensation you deserve. To set up your free case evaluation today, call us 443-844-1528 anytime day or night. We receive out payment only if we recover money for you.