What to do if I was at fault for just a fender bender and now the other’s driver’s auto insurer sent me a claim of $2800?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What to do if I was at fault for just a fender bender and now the other’s driver’s auto insurer sent me a claim of $2800?

The police were not called because my insurance had lapsed and I told him I would pay to have it fixed, I later got a call from the police department asking if I was in an accident. Now, 5 months later, I am getting a subrogation claim from his insurance saying I owe $2800 for a fender bender that in no way should have cost this much. Can I dispute this?

Asked on September 23, 2016 under Accident Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you were at fault and believe it can be shown you were at fault, then you could only dispute the cost to repair. You can ask to be shown the invoices or estimates, then get some quotes yourself; if the quotes are close, it's probably best to pay, but if there is a significant difference, you could offer to pay only a lesser amount. Put the offer in writing with copies of your estimates, sent some way you can prove delivery, so you can prove it later, if need be. If the insurer will not accept that, you can refuse to pay and let them sue you, then in court, try to prove that the cost to repair is less. (This is also where you'd show that you'd made a good faith offer; you want to show the court you tried to resolve this fairly.) But you would likely need to have an auto repair person or insurance adjuster testify for you in court, as to the cost to repair; your testimony, as a layperson, will not be good enough, and you can't introduce written estimates without having the person who made them there to testify. Therefore, it could be more trouble (and cost, if you have to pay your witness to appear) than it's worth contesting this...it is in your interest to try to settle the matter without litigation.

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