You should ask for a copy of the bill and canceled check for the payment, not an estimate. You should try and work out a payment plan that make sense for you, otherwise you possibly subject yourself to a lawsuit. You should be sure to obtain a release from the adverse party and his insurance company when you pay the debt.
Hopefully your boyfriend has now obtained liability insurance.
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This is a good question.
If you believe the quoted estimate is too high you can write or call the insurance adjuster and tell them your feelings about this. I recommend you write in addition to calling. You can ask for a copy of the estimate (I can't say for sure whether they will provide it to you). You can ask for pictures of damage to the vehicle. Perhaps you took your own pictures at the accident scene. If you obtain the written estimate and the pictures of damage, you can take them to other collision centers and ask for second opinions. You can also ask the insurance adjuster whether they will allow you to hire your own estimator/evaluator to go see the damaged van and generate their own estimate.
The damage you described sounds minor and depending on the year of the van, the quoted estimate may be on the high side, but you won't know this until you obtain second opinions. Best of luck handling this matter.
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Unfortunately, under CO law, before you get behind the wheel of a car, you are supposed to make sure that it has current valid insurance. So, the officers were totally correct in citing you for not having insurance. Unfortunately, that charge comes with a mandatory fine, 40 hours of useful public service, 4 points against your license, and possible suspension of your license. What you definitely need to do prior to the court hearing is to get insurance covering yourself for any car that you normally drive and/or have your boyfriend get insurance for the car that you were driving at the time of the accident to show to the DA and the Court. They will take that positively in offering you a better plea bargain. You probably were additionally cited for following too closely or careless driving as well. That is your biggest issue.
The issue with insurance is that the insurance company and the other driver are not obligated to provide any more estimates than just one. You can ask for another estimate, but they are not obligated to give you one or to go to the time and expense of getting one. Most insurance companies contract with particular body shops. I know that you think it was a minor fender bender. However, repair shops do charge an arm and a leg for repairs to vehicles for labor, parts, repainting, and a host of other issues. So, the estimate might be very reasonable. In your traffic case, the insurance company will most likely ask that you be ordered to pay restitution for the damage to the car in the amount of the estimate. The Court does not require more than one estimate either.
First, get insurance ASAP, as when you go to court for the driving without insurance charge, it will help. Second, see if you can work out a payment plan to pay for the damage you caused. Good luck to out.
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