Why it’s dangerous to agree to a private car crash settlement

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

A Washington car crash can trigger some truly significant expenses. Some people end up in the hospital after a collision, and there are also expenses related to vehicle damage for people to consider. People may need to pay to tow their vehicle, take an ambulance to the hospital and undergo emergency medical care. They might also have days or even weeks of lost wages because of their injuries.

Often, people expect to file an insurance claim after a Washington collision. The driver at fault for the wreck should provide liability coverage that can reimburse the other people affected by the collision. Sometimes, the driver at fault for the wreck may offer to pay for crash costs with their own resources. They ask the other party involved to not file a police report and to instead cooperate with them very private settlement. There are several concerning issues that may be inspired due to this approach to resolving car crash expenses.

It violates state law

While it may seem efficient and even kind to agree to a private settlement after a crash, such arrangements technically violate Washington state law. If it crash causes injury to people or produces at least $500 in property damage expenses, then the parties involved in the crash have an obligation under the law to report the matter to local authorities. Failing to do so violates state statutes and can lead to significant complications in the future if the parties don’t amicably and fully settle things between themselves.

A private agreement isn’t enforceable

The unfortunate reality for someone who agrees to settle a crash claim privately without involving the state or insurance companies is that they largely put themselves at the mercy of the other party’s goodwill. Without a police report to validate someone’s claims of what occurred, they might face real challenges if they need to take the matter to court later. Insurance companies are less likely to work with those who do not follow state reporting laws.

Pursuing compensation in civil court can also be more difficult when there isn’t a formal crash report confirming someone’s allegations that another person caused a crash that put them in the hospital or severely damaged their vehicle. A police report is a crucial piece of evidence for those affected by a motor vehicle collision.

Without state records affirming the claim that a wreck occurred, those involved in crashes may have a much harder time making use of the personal injury statutes in Washington that protect people from financial losses in situations caused by another party’s misconduct or negligence. As such, filing a police report is crucial for the protection of those not at fault for Washington car wrecks.