3 things you should know about your “loss of use” claim in connection with a car accident

If you have suffered damage to your car, you’re probably wondering how to go about getting a rental.  Loss of use in recognized in all states, and here are three things you need to know about this particular claim:

(1) The value of a loss of use claim

The amount you can recover for a loss of use claim is the reasonable value of a substitute vehicle for the time you are without your normal car.  If you were involved in a car crash, and you were not at fault, you should be able to have transportation during the time your car is being repaired or replaced.  If you normally drive a Chevrolet Tahoe, the value of your rental car should be a similar vehicle.  It won’t be a Rolls Royce.  You are entitled to a similar vehicle, so if you were in a Tahoe in order to shuffle kids around to baseball practice after school, you should get a similar sized vehicle at approximately the same value.

(2) How long am I entitled to a rental car

You are entitled to a rental car for as long as it takes to have your car repaired.  Most states (along with most insurers) will have a law or policy that states that the loss of use claim is for a “reasonable” time while the car is repaired.  What if the body shop takes too long?  What if the repaired paint color was wrong, and the shop needs to re-paint the car?  These are all questions in the grey area, and for this reason, you will need an attorney to help navigate you through the process in the event (a) the body shop doesn’t properly repair the vehicle or (b) the insurance company is balking at the length of time you are in the rental.

(3) Who pays for the rental at the counter

If you have full coverage insurance, once you make a claim for property damage and bodily injury, you should contact your own insurance company to let them know of the claim.  Many times, they will assist you in getting your car repaired, getting a rental, etc, and then they will seek subrogation for their payments from the at-fault insurance company.  If you only have liability insurance coverage, and the at-fault insurance company won’t pay for the rental up front, you may be forced to rent the vehicle yourself and seek reimbursement through your loss of use claim.

For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced personal injury lawyer Little Rock AR trusts who has been involved in the negotiation and settlement of claims for years.


HFThanks to Steve Harrelson from Harrelson Law Firm P.A. for his added insight into the adjusting of claims and loss of use in motor vehicle accidents.