What are my rights and is there anything I can do about this?

I hit a parked car in a parking lot, and damaged it. I’m not going to use insurance for the repair but rather pay out of pocket. I’ve gotten in contact with the owner and he got a quote for the repair which was $700. I got in contact with a reputable body shop, that works with lots of large local dealerships and repairs a lot of vehicles and quoted me $450. The owner of the vehicle is refusing to go to the shop that I got the cheaper quote from and threatening to make a claim with his insurance company.

Asked on February 22, 2019 under Accident Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You have the right to refuse to pay him $700. But that doesn't allow you to force him to use your shop; he in turn has the right to either put in a claim to his insurer--who will then presumably sue you to recover what they pay out to him--or to sue you directly for the money. If you are sued by either him or his insurer, if you can show that is quote was unreasonable, you may be able to avoid paying it, since you only hae to pay a "reasonable" repair cost. But reasonable does not mean "cheapest": since cheapest often means that the quality if suspect, the law does not require him to use the cheapest shop out there. Instead, if $700 is in the range or band of what is reasonable, if he or his insurer sues you, they can likely get a judgment for that amount. 
So in sum: if you and he can't agree, you can refuse to pay and see if you are sued. If you are sued, you will have to pay a "reasonable" amount, which may be around $450, if you quote is the norm or reasonable and is unreasonably high; or it may be $700 if that is the norm or reasonble and yours is unreasonably low.

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