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Loss of Use

Loss of Use of Vehicles in Durham

Putting Your Family’s Needs First with Rental Car Reimbursement in North Carolina

Waiting for your vehicle to be repaired after an accident can be aggravating and extremely inconvenient. Fortunately, under North Carolina law, if you have a property damage claim for your damaged vehicle, you may be entitled to the cost of renting a similar type and size vehicle for a reasonable amount of time while your car is being repaired. This is known as loss of use or rental car reimbursement.

Generally, loss of use or rental car reimbursement is the damage a person suffers from the inconvenience of not having their car after it has been involved in an accident. For example, Driver A is involved in an accident with an at-fault driver, Driver B. Driver A is the owner of his vehicle. Driver A has his car towed to an auto repair shop and it will take 20 days to be repaired. During those 20 days, Driver A is without a vehicle, in return, suffering a loss of use for that vehicle. Therefore, Driver A may be able to claim loss of use as damages, or receive compensation for a rental car from Driver B’s insurance company.

Call Wallace Pierce Law at (919) 887-7892 or reach out to us online to speak with our Durham attorneys. We know how to help you get back on your feet after a car accident.

When Can I Claim Loss of Use Damages?

Generally, you may claim a loss of use of your vehicle when:

  1. You are in an automobile accident
  2. You are not at fault
  3. The vehicle becomes unusable by you for some period of time
  4. You suffer damages as a result

In general, the first three prongs are straightforward to establish and prove to an insurance company or to a jury’s satisfaction; however, validating that you have suffered damages as a result can be a bit more difficult. Insurance companies will often refuse to pay for loss of use of your vehicle or claim that the losses are not as substantial as are being alleged. Usually, loss of use damages can be established by showing that you use your vehicle daily, and because of the accident, you no longer have a means of transportation to conduct your ordinary affairs.

What Amount in Damages can I be Awarded in a Loss of Use Claim?

If your vehicle has been damaged in an accident, you should aim to recover the reasonable value of a rental vehicle for the time that your damaged vehicle is being repaired. The reasonable value of a rental vehicle is the ordinary and customary cost of renting a comparable vehicle.

Insurance companies will generally use the local or state average for a rental in determining how much they will pay per day for a rental vehicle of comparable value.

  • Knowing this, it is always a good idea to try and get the insurance company to pay for the rental car directly or determine how much they are willing to reimburse.
  • Ensuring that the insurance company is paying the rental car company directly will mean that you will not likely owe anything for your rental once it is returned.

If I Didn’t Rent Another Vehicle, Can I Still Claim Loss of Use Damages?

In some situations, it may be possible to recover the reasonable value of a substitute vehicle even if one is not rented. Generally, if you could have rented a vehicle, but borrowed or used another instead, you may still be able to recover for loss of use damages. Essentially, you can determine the amount you may be able to recover by calculating the reasonable number of days it will take to repair your vehicle (generally provided by the auto repair shop) and then multiplying that figure by reasonable rental costs in your area. You do not necessarily have to prove that you rented a vehicle.

Also, if the insurance company will not pay for the cost of a rental car because you borrowed someone else’s vehicle, then you may consider applying a measure of damages based on the mileage that you put on the vehicle you borrowed.

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