If your car or vehicle has been damaged and needs repairs or is deemed a “total loss” (i.e. totaled), you are entitled to recover damages for “loss of use” of the vehicle.
"Vehicle" includes a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, etc.
To recover damages
for “loss of use” of a vehicle, you must prove:
Rental insurance for a rental car is not recoverable generally.
Loss of use is just one of several categories of damages recoverable in property damage claims. To learn about other recoverable damage categories, see article: Vehicle Insurance Property Damage Claims.
"To prove loss-of-use values, the plaintiff can either present receipts of costs incurred in renting a substitute vehicle or testify to other transportation costs, such as bus, train, or taxi fares." (Cal. Tort Damages (Cont. Ed. Bar 2d ed 2003) Vehicles and Other Personal Property, § 13.13, p. 397.) "If no substitute vehicle is rented or no receipts are available, the plaintiff can use advertisements indicating car rental costs, or obtain written documentation of car rental costs from a company that rents vehicles to the public. If necessary, the plaintiff can have someone who works for a car rental agency testify as an expert witness regarding reasonable rental costs." (Ibid.).
A similar substitute
luxury automobile or vintage motorcycle most likely have a
substantially higher reasonable rental value than a 25 year old clunker
Other case quotations:
Valencia v. Shell Oil Co. (1944) 23 Cal.2d 840, 844 ["…an owner's recovery for being deprived of the use of a damaged vehicle is generally … the period of time reasonably required for the making of repairs." ].
in] cases in which the property is totally destroyed [i.e. total loss]
and those in which it has been injured [i.e. damaged] but is
repairable, … when the owner of a negligently destroyed commercial
vehicle has suffered injury by being deprived of the use of the vehicle
during the period required for replacement, he is entitled, upon proper
pleading and proof, to recover for loss of use…" [Words in brackets
added to original text] (Reynolds v.
Bank of America National Trust & Savings Assn. (1959) 53
Cal.2d 49, 50-51.)
value of the 'loss of use' of the car is the rental value of a
substitute vehicle; …damages…may be determined with reference to the
rental value of similar property which the plaintiff can hire for use
during the period when he is deprived of the use of his own property." (Collin v. American Empire Insurance Co.
(1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 787, 818
Disclaimer: The above is general information whose accuracy is not guaranteed and not legal advice. The above is a simplified explanation of law. Property damage claims can be simple or complex. This article provides some generalized basics but is not exhaustive in covering all the particulars, nuances, variables and issues that may arise. Laws change frequently which may make certain statements herein obsolete or no longer accurate. Therefore, don't rely on the information above in making final determinations regarding handling loss of use claims. But consult with or retain an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer for advice and/or representation. See also further Disclaimer.
By MB Tozer Esq.