Can I ask the at-fault individual to pay for the rental car while my car is being repaired?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I ask the at-fault individual to pay for the rental car while my car is being repaired?

My daughter’s car was struck by another vehicle while parked in parking lot. The total damage to the car is $5800. The at-fault driver’s property damage maximum is $5000. We will ask my daughter’s insurance company to use the Uninsured/Underinsured coverage on my daughter’s to cover the additional amount not covered by his insurance. My daughter’s coverage does not include collision nor a provision for a rental car. Can and should we go directly to the at-fault driver to request payment for a rental car that is needed to allow my daughter to keep working while the car is being repaired? The accident occurred a month age and the at-fault driver’s insurance company has not yet approved the repairs on our vehicle.

Asked on August 15, 2017 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can certainly ask the at-fault driver for the rental costs and, if he will not pay them voluntarily, could sue him for the money: a driver who is at-fault in a car accident is liable for all the reasonably foreseeable costs thereof, and the cost to rent a car for a reasonable time while the victim's car is being repaired--i.e. for the typical time it usually takes for such repairs--is just such a foreseeable cost. (This is assuming you are renting a car comparable to or lesser in value than the one which is damaged; no using the occasion as an opportunity to drive around in a Jag or Mercedes if that's not what your car was.) For the likely amount at stake, suing in small claims court, with your daughter acting as her own attorney or "pro se," is likely a good idea.

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