April 10

What is a Loss-of-Use Claim?

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A loss of use claim arises when another person negligently causes damage to your car, and you are subsequently unable to use your car while the car is either being repaired or subsequently evaluated as a total loss. 

Loss of use claims arise under property damage claims, which are typically easier to evaluate and determine than bodily injury claims. 

Think of it like this – you’re in an accident, and you’re not at fault.  Your car is taken to a body shop and is in the shop for 2 weeks.  Because you’ve been deprived of using your vehicle, through no fault of your own, you are entitled to claim the value of using that vehicle for those 2 weeks.

How do we determine what the value is of you being deprived of your vehicle for 2 weeks?  Well, it depends on what state you live in, because most states have different rules and standards, but in Arizona, we look at a reasonable and comparable rental vehicle. 

The Restatement of Torts § 927, which Arizona courts tend to follow, allows reasonable evidence of rental for estimating the amount of a loss of use claim.  Using our example from above, if your vehicle was a mini-van, and the current rental price from a rental car company is $45 per day, then your loss of use claim would be $45 x 14 days = $630. 

Where insurance companies try to play games is in the type of rental vehicle.  In our example, the vehicle damaged was a minivan.  Insurance companies will try to argue that you should have rented a small, compact car that rents for say $30 per day.  This is not correct and is not supported by Arizona law.  You are entitled to the reasonable rental value of a similar car.  If you drive a truck, then you’re allowed to make a loss of use claim for the rental value of a similar sized truck, not a compact car.

You might be wondering, if you can actually rent a vehicle while your car is being repaired and also seek a loss of use claim.  The answer is no.  If you paid for a rental car, and the price is reasonable as it relates to your damaged vehicle, then you are certainly entitled to be reimbursed, but you would not be able to seek a loss of use claim.

Other Things to Consider

If your vehicle was hit by someone else, you do not have use the repair shop that is recommended by an insurance company.  You are allowed to pick the repair shop of your choice for an estimate.  I usually advise clients to find reputable repair shops near them.  The insurance companies all have their favorite repair shops for repair estimates.  These repair shops know who pay their bills, and it’s not you, it’s the big faceless insurance companies.  These shops want to maintain their relationships with the insurance companies and have an incentive underestimate the damages to your vehicle.

You should also open a claim with your insurance company if you’re involved in an accident, even if you’re not at fault, and even if the other driver’s insurance company has contacted you.  When you open a claim with your insurance company, they are required by law to treat you fairly.  They also have to help defend you if the other driver says that you’re at fault.  Your insurance company will typically get your vehicle in for an estimate much quicker than the insurance company of the at fault driver. 

It is true, that you may have to initially pay your deductible if you open a claim with your insurance provider, but if you’re not at fault, you will be reimbursed. 

At Justice On Demand, we have significant experience, and results, in recovering loss of use claims for our clients.  We do everything in our power to get the best results possible for your case.  If you’re unsure if you need an attorney or don’t think that you can afford one, don’t worry.  All of our initial consults are 100% free and we work on contingency. 

This means that we only get paid when you get paid.  You’ll never have to come out of pocket for your legal expenses.  We do better when you do better, and our fees are never larger than what we put in your pocket. Give us a shot as we’re 100% risk free.


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