Loss of Use Claim
A person whose car was damaged in a California car accident is entitled to recover damages for loss of use of a vehicle which includes damages for the loss of the use of the car during the duration of the repair, if the car is a total loss until it is replaced.
Generally, the loss for the damaged vehicle is often measured as the cost of a rental car, excluding insurance or sales tax, during the period.
If the person did not obtain a rental car, then the loss of use would be a per diem charge (usually between $15-$40.00 per day) from the date of the accident until the property damage offer was made by the at-fault party. Our San Diego car accident lawyer routinely asks for loss of damages when my clients obtain a rental car, or if they do not obtain a rental car.
Recover Damages for Diminished Value in Car Accident
If your car was damaged in a California collision, you can also recover damages for its diminished value, which is the market loss or value of a vehicle as a result of an accident.
A damaged car is naturally worth less than its original value, which was diminished by losses in the accident (because you would have to disclose the accident if you ever sold the car and were asked about the prior accidents, this diminishes the retail value of the car).
This could affect the value of your vehicle in case you are planning a trade-in or resale. However, interestingly, in California, there is no first-party claim for diminution of value. This means you cannot collect against your own policy for any loss of value that your vehicle has incurred as a result of an accident.
According to the court (Ray v. Farmers Ins. Exchange (1998) 200 Cal. App.3d 1411), once a vehicle is “repaired to its pre-accident safe, mechanical, and cosmetic condition, the first party insurance company’s duty is discharged”.
Our Personal Injury Attorney in San Diego, California Can Help
Mark C. Blane is a San Diego personal injury attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Firm dedicated to representing families of people injured in personal injury accidents including car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, product defects, and the like.
If you or a loved one has been killed or injured in an accident in San Diego, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95. However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.