If you have insurance, you should contact your insurance company and let the handle it.
If you did not have insurance, you have the right to take the vehicle at a body shop you trust and then pay whatever they say. The police report estimate is meaningless since the cop is not an expert and has made a simply visual assessment--one that is not legally binding on anyone.
If you do not want to take the vehicle to a body shop, you can either pay what they ask or not pay and have them sue you--they will then have to prove the nature and extent of the damages in court.
I hope this helps-
Disclaimer: I am a lawyer licensed in the State of Illinois only, and I am not your lawyer (unless you have been in my office and signed a contract). This communication is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. This is for informational purposes only.
This is why we all pay the insurance companies the big bucks. They have adjusters and appraisers to estimate and review damagees to vehicles. There are checks and balances in the system.
While I would never rely on the on-scene summary evaluation of the police officer, I would never rely on the other side's unilateral self serving bill either.
If you do not have insurance, then it would be up to you to have your own appraisal. If it is too late for that, and you do not have insurance, then simply refuse to pay and force the other side to take you to court and raise your defenses at that time.
This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.
The police are notorious for seriously under estimating the amount of damages done in any motor vehicle accident. The police have an incentive to under estimate the amount of damages, as many states have statutes which trigger the need for a more complex or detailed police report when there is either a reported injury or damages which exceed $1000. I remember a police report I reviewed a few years ago here in Vermont, where the damage written down to both vehicles by the officer was each $999, grossly under estimating the damages done to both of the vehicles in the accident, both of which were totaled. However, his gross underestimation saved him more extensive paperwork.
I suggest that you turn this matter over to your automobile liability insurance carrier and let them handle this matter for you. That is why you pay them a premium.
Legal Disclaimer :
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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