In the real world, people have damage to their cars that they would just rather not get fixed. They would rather pocket the insurance money and drive around with a big dent in their car.
If there was a liability dispute, it has been hard to pull this off in Maryland because there was no way to get the property damage estimate into evidence unless you brought the guy who did the estimate to trial as a witness (If you actually had the repairs done, you could get the cost in under Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Annotated § 10-105).
Now, under a new Maryland law passed last week, you can get a repair estimate into evidence at trial, at least in District Court. Now, a plaintiff can testify that a written vehicle repair estimate, prepared by an insurer or its authorized representative is admissible, without the testimony of the preparer of the estimate, as evidence of the authenticity and the fairness and reasonableness of the estimate that you would otherwise need.
We are proud that John Bratt from our office testified before the Maryland General Assembly and helped get this bill passed. This bill does not help our law firm; we stopped handing state District Court car accident cases some time ago because our firm handles only serious injury and wrongful death accident claims. But, we still fight for the rights of accident victims everywhere.
You can find Maryland Senate Bill 80 here. This bill passed with an amendment limiting it to district court but otherwise I think this is the bill that became law.