I accidently pulled a plank off a friend's wooden gate. How much of the $1300 bill should I pay?

I was helping a friend drive kids (mine included) to a location birthday party. While we were standing in the driveway planning where to meet at the location, my friend opened the gate. I didn't realize the gate was automatic, and their dog was standing right by the entrance. I was trying to keep the dog from running out of the gate, so I was holding onto the top of the gate. As it opened, I tried to prevent it from doing so(thinking it was a weighted type thing, not automatic). Suddenly there was a loud cracking noise, and the vertical plank I was holding onto came off in my hand.
I apologized profusely and offered to have our handyman come out and fix the gate, at our expense. My friend decided to call a gate specialist, who then told her that because of the decayed condition of the gate (it was 15-20 years old and had never been sealed after being installed, and its location is always shady), there was a lot more damage than the one plank I pulled off, and the total cost was $1325 to fix it. My friend expects me to pay the entire bill, but I feel given the condition of the gate (I spoke with the repairman myself, and he told me if the gate had been maintained, I would not have been able to pull the plank off), we should at least split the bill. The plank has been nailed back up and the gate works, but their house is on the market, and they, understandably, want the gate to look good. I don't want to ruin the friendship, and I did pull off the plank, but $1300 is a lot of money. What should I do?
By monstersmom 9 years ago :: Friends
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