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What am I entitled to in terms of Loss of Use?

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What am I entitled to in terms of Loss of Use?

When you find yourself in a situation where the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to cover the cost of a rental vehicle while your own is being repaired, it can be frustrating and financially burdensome. However, it’s essential to know that you are entitled to seek compensation for what is known as “loss of use” damages. This refers to the reasonable cost of providing a replacement vehicle when your car is out of commission due to an accident.

The loss of use period typically begins on the accident date and extends until specific conditions are met. These conditions can vary depending on the circumstances of your case, but generally, they include:

  • Receiving a Settlement Check: The loss of use period often runs until you, as the vehicle owner, receive a settlement check for the damaged vehicle. This settlement check is intended to cover repairing or replacing your car.

  • Time for Replacement: It may also extend for a few days after you’ve received the settlement check. This additional time allows you to search for and purchase another vehicle using the funds provided in the settlement.

  • Repairs Completed and Car Returned: Alternatively, the loss of use period can conclude when your vehicle has been fully repaired and returned to you in a drivable condition.

Insurance carriers may attempt to limit the loss of use period, arguing that it only extends from the accident date to the date they made their initial offer for a totaled vehicle. However, this interpretation is often contested. The rationale behind extending the loss of use period beyond the first offer for a totaled vehicle is that you, as the vehicle owner, need a reasonable opportunity to explore the market, shop for a suitable replacement vehicle, and make an informed decision with the settlement funds provided.

Insurance companies often try to minimize their financial obligations, which is where legal clarity becomes crucial. It’s essential to understand your rights and entitlements under the law, especially when facing resistance from an insurance carrier. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Consult an Attorney: If you encounter difficulties obtaining loss of use compensation or face disputes with the insurance company, seeking legal advice is highly advisable. An attorney experienced in personal injury and insurance matters can provide guidance and advocate on your behalf.
  • Gather Evidence: Document all communications with the insurance company, including written correspondence and phone calls. Keep records of expenses related to your loss of use, such as rental car receipts and repair invoices.

  • Know Your Policy: Review your insurance policy to understand the coverage and any provisions related to loss of use or rental car reimbursement. This can help you navigate discussions with the insurance company more effectively.

  • Negotiate Fairly: If you believe the insurance company’s offer is inadequate, be prepared to negotiate for a fair and reasonable compensation amount that aligns with the loss of use period in your specific circumstances.

It’s crucial to be aware of your rights, consult with legal professionals when necessary, and gather evidence to ensure you receive the fair compensation you are entitled to during this challenging time.