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Can I demand an insurance company pay me the going rates for a car rental I didn't actually rent?

Seattle, WA |

I was rear-ended, and my car ended up in the shop for 25 days. My spouse has her own car, so she ferried me to and from work. We were able to get by without renting a car, but this setup was a hassle and somewhat inconvenient. Would I be able to make the other driver's insurance company compensate me in the amount of the average going rate for a rental car that's in the equivalent class as my own car?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Best answer

    You should try. Washington's Pattern Jury Instructions allow for the following:

    Reasonable compensation for any loss of use of any damaged property during the time reasonably required for its [repair] [replacement]. (WPI 30.16)

    Our Supreme Court said:

    We now hold that, where, as here, a plaintiff has not rented a substitute automobile, he is nevertheless entitled to receive, as general damages in the event liability is established, such sum as will compensate him for his inconvenience. Proof of what it reasonably would have cost to hire a substitute automobile is sufficient evidence to carry this item of damages to the jury, but is not the measure of such damages. It is relevant evidence in determining the general damages for inconvenience resulting from loss of use of an automobile.

    Holmes v. Raffo 60 Wn.2d 421, 431, 374 P.2d 536 (1962).


  2. No.

    1 - If you and I do not have a written and signed Fee Agreement for attorney services, then you are not my client and the content herein is for your education only and does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. Assenting to and signing a Fee Agreement with me and paying any agreed-upon fee makes you my client. 2 - IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, you are informed that any U.S. federal tax advice in this communication (including attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of: (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; or (2) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. 3 - You should not rely upon the information provided in this response for any reason. You should seek advice from an attorney in your area who can review all of the necessary facts so that attorney can provide you with legal advice that is relevant to your specific facts and applicable Washington law. I hereby disclaim any legal liability of any kind for the information supplied in this response.


  3. Sometimes you can convince the carrier to pay you directly, however, lots of the time they will not. I would make the request.


  4. Never hurts to ask.


  5. Like everything else, it is a negotiable item of damage. It is called "loss of use", and you should document your claim by obtaining the average cost of a rental from several local rental facilities. This will give you a reasonable basis to discuss your claim. If you fail in your negotiations, make it a part of your bodily injury damage claim. Sooner or later you will likely receive some amount whicy will be satisfactory. Good luck!


  6. If your wife incurred additional auto expense in ferrying you to and from work, etc, then this would arguably be a recoverable incidental expense, even though not technically a rental car expense. Sometimes it's a matter of how you phrase the request.

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