Did I do something illegal? (or even immoral?) (Stupid? For sure.)

I hear what you are saying but as we both can tell, I read the words OP wrote differently. I feel at the time of the accident, they felt their was NO damage and the words “immediately apparent” only come into play to set the statement of what they found out later. They then, “take the money and run” (aka Steve Miller band ) I don’t feel they said they indicated they were doing any bargaining what so ever…they just took the money and drove off.

When you say they were under no obligation except if injury or criminal activity to report, are you quoting from NYS regs ? Leaving a car in traffic or that needs to be towed is one of many requirements to report and not reporting the accident when this happens can get your license suspended around here.

“So, he’s got a bent wheel and there doesn’t APPEAR to be any damage to my car.”

From the OP. Emphasis in original.

As you can see, he ackgnoledges no “apparant” damage–meaning he acknowledges the possiblility of damage not readily apparent. He takes $200 as compensation against potential as yet undiscovered damages (IMO, I’d have asked for $400.)

Me, I’d likely agree to the offer. In my neighborhood, the most common cause of not wanting police attention is driving on suspended. If I insist on police, I’m likely to be party to somebody losing the ability to drive to work and provide for his family. I’d rather not do that, unless the actor in question is a jerk. So, my motive is empathy, not greed–but you’d have to “stare into my soul” to discern that, right?

As for calling the coppers, that’s why I’ve got insurance: get Nationwide on the horn, let them instruct me on what to do. Around here, you just don’t call the cops for penny-ante stuff–and frankly, that’s how the cops seem to like it: got bigger fish to fry.

The "no apparent damage statement " was made well after OP discovered there actually was damage which affects his wording in the post to us. He didn’t send this post at the scene. At the time he accepted money, there is no indication then that he directly assumed any damage.

He already called the police and whether you think it was the right thing or not to do, is irrelevant. He asked for help…then left the scene, for money. It is that simple. You can say that they negotiated or he took it as compensation for damages to suit a story line but he never said so. Bribery still stands IMHO, as a discriptive term as to what happened until OP comes back to explain more fully what happened.

As long as you say “excuse me please” we can run into whomever we want ?

Like my agent told me when I was a kid, “if you have an accident with no injuries and call me in the middle of the night I’ll kill you, but if you have an accident with injuries and don’t call me in the middle of the night, I’ll kill you”. 'nuff said. I think you guys are blowing this way out of proportion. Some people like to call the police for a hang nail for someone to hold their hand. Others when it makes some sense. I don’t call them unless they can add something to the equation.

I don’t think we invented bribery here in Mexico, but we did perfect it, heh, heh.

This would not be bribery in Mexico. In fact, that is how minor accidents are settled. They take a guess what it will cost to repair the car, and the money is handed over.

I am probably the only man in the history of my village to grease a palm to get my property taxes RAISED. I suspect I will never be arrested and tried for bribery, since I am paying more taxes. Long story and I am not sharing it.

I think you miss my point ! The $200 had nothing to do with damages. OP was not aware there was any damage. It had everything to do with remaining at the scene to follow up on reporting an accident. If OP never reported the accident, discussed possible damages with the other driver and then accepted $200, I would see no reason to call it bribery. That never happened. Read OP’s post. They took the $200 to immediately leave the scene. All the other scenarios are not what happened including your example. No one took any guess as to what it would cost to repair OP’s car. Things like" well, you can’t call it bribery cause this, that or the other thing ‘might’ have happened" are just made up story lines.

No one took any guess what it would cost to repair OP’s car

OP must have, unless he was EXCEEDINGLY naive. “No apparent damage” =/= “No damage” to non-naive folks.

Thank you for smomeone finally saying the obvious…no damage detected at the scene. So why did he take the money ? Greed ? Inconvenience, or the obvious answer, to leave . Bribery is accepting money or favor to change ones behavior. That $200 changed his behavior…he left . If the other guy did not offer him money, would OP have immediately left ? Not !

Dagosa, perhaps you’re unfamiliar with an equal sign with a slash through it. It is a mathematical symbol meaning not equal to. Meaning, no apparent damage IS NOT EQUAL TO no damage!

Anyways, if you assume the $200 was a bribe offered with the (likely implicit) goal of not calling the police, OP didn’t accept a bribe: if anything, he double-crossed the briber! (Remember, the cops were already on the way…)

I am familiar; I taught math for 37 years. Because the symbol wasn’t continuous, I didn’t recognize it, sorry.
It is difficult for me to follow with the statement, a “bribe was offered with the goal of not calling the police” . OP already called the police. The bribe was to encourage OP to leave. That puts him in a precarious situation…leaving the scene of an accident he reported.

If OP never reported the accident, I would have no problem with what transpired. He reported with the idea of INVOLVING THE POLICE. He left with a $200 for no apparent damage. The money changed his expected behavior. If we can look up the definition of bribery, that’s what the non legal definition is. Btw, accepting a bribe is as duplicitous as offering it. So, there was no double cross. The other party got what they wanted. Read the rest of OP’s post. HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID AND WHY. There is a lot of guilt and remorse expressed in his statements. Haven’t heard anymore from OP so there is no reason to continue.

Good debate @meanjoe75fan. Catch you on another topic.

“The other party got what they wanted.”

How? If we assume a bribe, the $200 was most likely in exchange for “keeping the police out of this.” (Likely implied vs. stated outright.) What the person offering the bribe couldn’t have known was, the cops had already been called!

I doubt that’s what the other party wanted…

Not that I’d behave this way, but putting myself in the position of the other party, I’d sure feel double-crossed when the cops showed up–wouldn’t you?