Following a car accident, does the victim have to provide an estimate from a body shop?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Following a car accident, does the victim have to provide an estimate from a body shop?

My son accidentally hit a parked car with his truck and is taking
responsibility for the accident. The girl whose car he hit has contacted
his insurance and taken her car to be repaired. She has not provided
him with an estimate of the work to be done, stating only that his
insurance will be contacted.
We have two questions

1. Isn’t she required by Massachusetts law to provide him with a written
estimate of the repairs to be done? She has stated that she has signed a
waiver at the garage for the work to be done without an itemized
estimate. She will not provide him with this waiver either. She has been
very difficult to deal with and we are concerned she is trying to have
pre-existing damage to her car repaired through my son’s insurance.

2. She is telling him that he is responsible for a rental car for her while
repairs are made to her car. Is this true? Because she has not
communicated, he does not even know how long a rental car is needed.


Asked on October 15, 2018 under Accident Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no law state law that she must provide him an estimate unless and only if she sues him for the money: in a lawsuit, she'd need to provide evidence of the cost to repair. Obvoiusly, if she won't provide him any evidence/estimate (or does, but your son finds it not credible or excessive), he could refuse to pay anything (or offer to pay only what he deems appropriate) and force her to sue--and prove her case--if she wants more than he is willing to offer. It is voluntary for him to pay anything unless he is sued and loses, so if she wants payment from him without a lawsuit, she'll have to provide an estimate if he wants one.
If someone is at fault in damaging another's car, they are responsible for the cost of a comparable car rental for a reasonable time. Reasonable is not well-defined, but is generally about how long the average body, etc. shop would take on the repairs, assuming the car was brought in promptly and they are not dragging their feet.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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