Does The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Have to Pay for A Rental Car While My Car Is Being Fixed?

Technically speaking, the automobile insurance company for the driver who caused your accident and damaged your car or truck does not have the responsibility to pay for a rental vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired.  However, as a practical matter, many insurance companies will pay for the cost of a rental car for a reasonable period of time while a vehicle is being repaired.

Why do these insurance companies pay for a rental car when the law doesn’t require them to do so?  Because the law requires the insurance company to pay damages for "loss of use" while the vehicle is out of service.  The time that the vehicle is being evaluated for repairs and being repaired must be a reasonable period of time.  

It is difficult to determine the value of "loss of use" but one good way to avoid future litigation over the meaning the phrase and the damages that must be paid is to supply a replacement vehicle for the use of the person whose vehicle was damaged in the wreck.  Thus, insurance companies who believe that their insured driver was at fault will frequently give the claimant the right to rent a replacement vehicle.

As indicated, this right is limited by the rule of reasonableness.  The length that the rental car will be made available is dependent on the circumstances and is dependent on the circumstances.

Does the fact that the insurance company for the at-fault driver has given you the right to get a rental car mean that they are going to treat you fairly in your personal injury claim?  No.  The fact that the insurance company got you a rental car cannot be used against the insurance company in court and does not mean that they will properly and fairly evaluate your claim for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  Unless your injury is very minor, you will still benefit from the assistance of lawyer in evaluating your case and negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.  


John Day represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims in all types of cases, including automobile, truck, and motorcycle cases. He is board-certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and, in fact, served as President of the organization. He is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. His book, "Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law," is used by judges and lawyers across Tennessee to further their understanding of personal injury and wrongful death law in Tennessee. In 2009, Best Lawyers named John "Best Personal Injury Lawyer" for Nashville; he was the first recipient of that award. Best Lawyers also named John as "Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Nashville" for 2010. John does not charge for an initial consultation and accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent fee basis. You can reach him by telephone at 615.742.4880 or by email by clicking here

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