If you have any legal questions or require any legal assistance with your personal injury claim, property damage claim, total loss claim or diminished value claim, you can contact our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys by telephone at (888) 820 – 5885, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the Free Consultation Contact Form in the right column of this page.
Our blog post today is going to cover loss of use (sometimes referred to as rental reimbursement) when your automobile has been damaged in a car accident. A lot of our personal injury clients are also owners of the car that was damaged in the auto accident, and frequently they are having issues with receiving compensation for the loss of use of their vehicle. Some insurance companies will only pay a limited number of days for a rental vehicle (for total loss cases, the insurance company will sometimes only allow our clients 48-72 hours to find a replacement vehicle). Also, insurance companies will sometimes refuse to pay you for loss of use of your vehicle if you can not prove that you actually lost money by renting another vehicle.
Under North Carolina law, if you have a property damage claim for the damage to your vehicle, you are entitled to the cost of renting a similar vehicle during a reasonable period for repairs. If the length of the repairs to your vehicle is unreasonable, then you may not receive compensation for each day that your vehicle was being repaired. You must use reasonable diligence to avoid or mitigate your damages, so this generally requires you to always be making some progress towards having your car repaired. As a result, you need to timely choose a repair facility (within two or three days of being notified that the insurance company will pay for your damages is usually sufficient). Also, you need to choose a body shop that is ready and able to begin repairs on your vehicle (if there is a week or two wait for a spot at your desired body shop, the insurance company will not generally owe you for rental during the wait period, so consider choosing another shop). During the repair, if there are delays that are not your fault and not the fault of the repair facility, such as a national back order on parts, then your loss of use or rental reimbursement claim should be allowed. However, if there are delays that are your fault (failure to sign work authorization, failure to make repair decision, etc.) or your shops fault (employees quit, fail to timely order parts, unavailable to do the work, etc.), then the insurance company generally will not owe you for those damages. If you are involved in a dispute with the insurance company as to how many days you are entitled to a rental car, or how many days of loss of use you are entitled to, feel free to enlist the help of our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers.
What if you did not rent a vehicle, and just used a replacement vehicle that you own or borrowed a spare vehicle from a friend? Are you entitled to any compensation then? The answer is yes. If you could have rented a substitute vehicle, the reasonable cost of the substitute vehicle during the reasonable time to repair your vehicle is the amount you are entitled to, even if no other vehicle was rented. You do not have to prove that you actually rented a vehicle. You only have to prove that you could have rented a vehicle, and how much the rental would have cost you.
So, to summarize, if your vehicle is damaged due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to either reimbursement of your rental expenses or, if you didn’t actually rent a vehicle, payment for the loss of use of your vehicle. The amount you are entitled to is determined by calculating the reasonable number of days to repair your vehicle times the reasonable rental cost of a replacement vehicle.
If you have any questions about your auto accident or the amount of loss of use or rental reimbursement that you are entitled to feel free to ask our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys any question free of charge. You can contact our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers by email at email@example.com, by completing the Free Consultation Form to the right or by phone at (888) 820-58850.