My question involves a traffic accident in the State of: Ohio
I was shocked when a policeman arrived at my doorstep and told me a witness had seen me hit a parked car in a parking lot several hours earlier and had taken down my license plate number. I agreed to let the officer see my car, and we both noticed a scrape on the bumper (although there are several in several different spots on the back bumper - the car is 8 years old.) I admitted to being in the lot when the alleged incident occurred, but I have absolutely no recollection of EVER hitting another car. The officer gave me the name and number of the other car's owner, and suggested we work it out privately. I never saw or signed any kind of report. I was not cited. I did call the other party and explained the situation. They seemed understanding, and said they would get an estimate and get back to me. When asked the next day, my 9 year old daughter (who was with me at the time of the alleged accident) says she never felt us hit a thing. Three days later, they called with a verbal estimate of $375. This is really more than I can afford to pay. I certainly don't want to shirk any responsibility if, in fact, I did hit their car, but I can't assume responsibility at that price. For all I know THEY hit me (although they say they have a witness who actually saw the alleged accident) or are trying to scam me out of nearly $400. I have requested a written estimate from them.
I am wondering if I am legally responsible for the cost of their repairs, if the police were out of line in coming to my home, what steps I should take to protect my rights, and my pocketbook, and what could be the worst case scenario if I just refuse to pay. I have considered turning it all over to the insurance companies, but I hate to even pay a deductable if it's not absolutely necessary. I don't want to be tricked into paying something I may not be responsible for.
Any advice or opinions will be appreciated.