When a negligent driver causes damage to another vehicle in an accident, most states allow the owner of the damaged vehicle to recover damages in tort for the reasonable cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle along with the monetary value of being without the vehicle for a reasonable period while the vehicle is being repaired or replaced. States differ on the ability to recover for this “loss of use” damage and the amount that can be recovered.
Generally, the phrase “loss of use” is used to describe the damages that occur when conduct results in property being unavailable for use for a limited period of time. Generally, loss of use damages are measured by the rental value of a substitute property. For instance, one way this loss compensation theory could apply is for drivers who use their vehicles for ride share or taxi / car rental type enterprises and suffered earnings loss during the duration of the repair period of their vehicle including but not limited to these scenarios:
Operator Owned Taxis
Other Commercial Vehicles
How Do I Get Compensated?
There are many things associated with the loss of use of a vehicle that should be considered when calculating loss of use. The following are some things to consider:
1. Average daily earnings.
2. Aftermarket amenities and equipment (DVD player, tow hitch, stereos, etc.)
3. Wrapping cost for business vehicles or vinyl lettering, etc.
4. Recently made repairs, tires, fluid changes, etc.
Notwithstanding that in Maryland, there does not appear to be case law or statutory support for lost profits as a measure of loss of use damages, Maryland does acknowledge that economic loss includes the loss of profits resulting from loss of use, which may be persuasive. Village of Cross Keys, Inc. v. Gypsum, 556 A.2d 1126 (Md. 1989); A.J. Decoster Co. v. Westinghouse, 634 A.2d 1330, 1332 (Md. 1994); Lloyd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 916 A.2d 257, 291 (Md. 2007).
There is no recovery for loss of use in Maryland when a vehicle has been substantially destroyed or is not substantially repairable [example 'total loss' situations]. Barnes v. United R. & Electric Co., 116 A. 855 (Md. 1922).
For additional information reach out to us for a free phone consultation.