The CL is not a body-on-frame car. It's unibody construction, and if things look a little bent, it is.
Just about every unibody car that is hit beyond bumper or panel damage requires straightening of some kind. A peeled back fender means real work, not "bolt-on." I doubt it's something that could be repaired in your driveway.
Why would the car be written off if it is so easily fixed? Insurance companies are not in the biz to lose money. Imagine what the estimate would be to write this car off! Yow! Most companies consider a write-off at about 60-80% of value, depending on company and regulations. Even at $60%, we're out of the park. This car must have been worth $80K USD, so the damage must have come to at least $48,000.
Most insurance companies usually recoup about 25% of the payout on salvage. If the LAPD-fellow paid $15K for the car, figure the insurer probably laid out close to $60K, maybe more.
If the damage was $5000, it would be fixed, and at home.
I betcha the hood alone is something like $5K+...
Keep in mind that a salvage title means WAY less value, and these cars are often either re-sold after poor repairs, or bought by body-shop owners to repair and keep themselves as they can repair at a reduced cost.
If you are able, you might be able to part the car out for a profit, dpending on driveline parts and interior bits. Reputable shops wouldn't re-use sensitive things like SRS components anyway.
Anyone want a used CL500 M113 V-8?
1998 C230 "Black Betty"