If I have to pay for the damages on a car that I crashed, do I choose where to get the car fixed or the does the victim?

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If I have to pay for the damages on a car that I crashed, do I choose where to get the car fixed or the does the victim?

I was backing up at a private parking lot and I hit her car. I have no insurance so I am responsible for the damages. She took it to get an estimate that I think is overpriced. I want to take it somewhere else to get another estimate and cheaper but she does not want to and she wants to get it fixed there. Do I have the right to take the car wherever I want since I am the one paying for the repairs?

Asked on January 21, 2012 under Accident Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The owner of the car you hit selects the repair shop.  However, she is required to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a repair shop whose charges are comparable to other auto repair shops in the area.  If she selects a very expensive repair shop, she has failed to mitigate damages and her damages will be reduced accordingly.  If you are sued for negligence for the damage to her car, you could argue that she failed to mitigate damages by selecting an overpriced repair shop and that her damages should be reduced accordingly.  It would be advisable for her to get more than one estimate of the cost of repairs.  If she refuses, you won't be able to take her car to a repair shop of your choice.  You might be able to argue that since she refused to get additional estimates, she failed to mitigate damages and selected an overpriced repair shop and therefore her damages should be reduced accordingly.

If she has uninsured motorist coverage on her auto insurance policy, she could file a claim with her insurance company and have her car repaired.  The insurance company could still sue you to recover the costs of the repairs since you were uninsured.


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