Rental car after car accident

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Intricacies when it comes to a rental car after a car accident

 

In the wake of a car accident you can ask the other party, provided they are liable, to cover the costs of a rental car, or, alternatively, compensation of the loss of use of your damaged car. This is a very broad and basic statement and, of course, simplifies matters.

 

One such simplification has been the subject of a court case and will be useful to take into consideration for some readers in a similar situation in the future.

 

So, after a car accident for which the other party was liable, the owner of the damaged car sent it to a garage for repair. He rented a car for the period it took to get his car repaired which turned out to be 11 days. He asked the insurance company of the other party for reimbursement. The amount was about 1230 €.

 

Now the crucial fact of the case here was that the claimant drove about 223 km with the rented car after allowing for the drive from his flat to the garage.

 

That led both the district court and the court of appeals to point out that he drove to few kilometers with the rented car. Sorry, no reimbursement.

 

Behind this perhaps puzzling statement is hidden a simple calculation based on a legal tenet: A daily driving need of less than 20 km per day (as manifested by the overall km consumption) is an indication, according to the Court, that renting a car was unreasonable to begin with. “Unreasonable” here translates into a violation of each claimant´s obligation to keep the damages low. Obviously, the courts argued, his daily mileage needs could have been satisfied less expensively – without renting a car.

 

He still was granted an allowance for the loss of use for his car during repair, although for other case specific reasons it did not cover the whole 11 days.

 

OLG Hamm, dated 23.1.2018 – 7 U 46/17

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Welcome back, @Rechtsanwalt!

 

Would the verdict have been different if the driver rented a lower class car? Because 1230 euro per 11 days looks like the driver rented a Porsche. One can rent a middle class car for 300-400 euro.

 

Because 20 km per day looks like living in a small town with poor public transportation (non existent on Sundays and after dark). Doesn't look excessive per se to me. But I don't know the details of the case.

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39 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

Because 20 km per day looks like living in a small town with poor public transportation (non existent on Sundays and after dark). Doesn't look excessive per se to me.

 

I find this quite typical of judges, as they forget what life is like for the common person who does not live in Berlin or Karlsruhe.

 

Here in the Oberallgäu, Bosch is by far the largest single employer.  If I recall correctly from mates, shifts are from 0600 - 1400, 1400 - 2200 and 2200 until 0600.  After 1800 there are no more buses and taxis are non-existence after 2000.  There is one on-call, but cannot handle the Bosch employees.  A car is necessary.

 

So if a Bosch employee who lives 8km away from Bosch, which would be the norm as Bosch is not located in a town, this person would be in a bind.  Especially if they had the night shift.

 

Last year on a Sunday night I called for a taxi to take me to hospital due to an eye infection.  The (lone) taxi was in Kleinwalsertal (Austria) and would not be able to collect me for 45 minutes.

 

Agree, without knowing more specifics hard to say, but I find the ruling to be not well thought out.

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10 hours ago, BayrischDude said:

 

So if a Bosch employee who lives 8km away from Bosch, which would be the norm as Bosch is not located in a town, this person would be in a bind. 

 

 

If the person were disabled or injured from the accident, perhaps. Sixteen kilometers of bicycle riding a day is hardly burdensome.

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Aye, 16km is not a long distance.  I fully agree.  But there are people to whom 16km on a bicycle for 11 days would be quite burdensome.  Add into that the weather here is not bicycle friendly especially in winter. 

 

Moreover, the Allgäuer can't drive for shite!  Truly some of the worst I've ever encountered and I've traveled the world over.  Where Bosch is located there are no bicycle paths, therefore the cyclist would need to ride on a road with 80kmh speed limit.  One day a car accident, the next a bike accident.  All due to a group of judges who feel 20km per day is not enough to warrant the need of a car hire.  Would one really want to ride a bicycle in -15 degree weather at 2100 or pouring rain at 0610 on their way home fighting traffic driving at 80kmh? 

 

Thinking more on this, how is this actually determined?  Is there a minimum one must estimate to obtain a car?  What if at the end they were under by one km?  Would the bill be disapproved?  Aye, they could take a wee detour each day to ensure the total km were higher.  Great pressure these judges have added to the victim of a car accident.

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I read about that judgement on a German website (don´t remember which one) and as far as I recall and if it was about the same case the car wasn´t used every day but those kilometers were driven on a few days only. So it would have been cheaper to rent a car on those 2 or 3 days only and use a taxi for the rest of the time.

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1 hour ago, Wertewandel said:

 

If the person were disabled or injured from the accident, perhaps. Sixteen kilometers of bicycle riding a day is hardly burdensome.

 

Since when is it a requirement to be able to ride a bike?

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Nobody's saying that there's no entitlement to a replacement car. The key point is here (at the very end of the typically long-winded explanation, so you might have missed it):

 

Quote

He still was granted an allowance for the loss of use for his car during repair, although for other case specific reasons it did not cover the whole 11 days.

Since these case-specific reasons were not described, we can only speculate as to the circumstances (I can't be bothered to look them up, to be honest). Given that he began his post with "Intricacies when it comes to a rental car after a car accident", it's quite annoying to not have any of these intricacies described. The chosen car may have been too expensive, for example (you can't expect reimbursement for renting a Mercedes as a replacement for your wrecked Dacia), or the person in question might not even need the car to commute to work (if retired/unemployed).

 

Perhaps next time our esteemed Rechtsanwalt might provide all the salient facts that were considered in the judgment.

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Perhaps next time our esteemed Rechtsanwalt might provide all the salient facts that were considered in the judgment.

 

I am not a lawyer, more into MINT... In that field, providing measurement data aka results without a thorough description of the measurement setup is considered charlatanry... 

 

Just saying...

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1 minute ago, franklan said:

 

 

 

I am not a lawyer, more into MINT... In that field, providing measurement data aka results without a thorough description of the measurement setup is considered charlatanry... 

 

Just saying...

Yeah, I'm not a sciencey guy, but I have my GED in Internet Law, so I'm all good.

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12 minutes ago, Wertewandel said:

Since when it is a requirement to own or operate a motor vehicle?

 

It's not. But one of the principles of insurance is to return everything to the pre-accident state, as if the accident hadn't happened. Changing from traveling by car to traveling by bike does not do that.

 

2 hours ago, yourkeau said:

16 km in Oberallgäu is different from 16 km in "poor, but sexy".

 

2 hours ago, BayrischDude said:

Aye, 16km is not a long distance.  I fully agree.  But there are people to whom 16km on a bicycle for 11 days would be quite burdensome.  Add into that the weather here is not bicycle friendly especially in winter. 

 

14 minutes ago, El Jeffo said:

it's quite annoying to not have any of these intricacies described

 

The court judgement mentions that paying for a taxi would have cost much less, so one of the intricacies is - given the choice between over €100 per day for a rental and a taxi which probably costs less than half: get the taxi.

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7 minutes ago, msam said:

But one of the principles of insurance is to return everything to the pre-accident state, as if the accident hadn't happened. Changing from traveling by car to traveling by bike does not do that.

         ^^^^^^  this!

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In the real world (in Germany, at least) an accident victim will often be inconvenienced and might not be returned to a pre-accident state. It happens. This is not the United States, where an accident can be a major payday. 

 

Bumper sticker seen in U.S.:  „Hit me. I need the money.“

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Some unrelated case: it seems this „keep the damages low“ system does not apply to companies which provide transportation services (i.e. the vehicle is the main work tool).

 

A driver illegally parked and blocked a tram line. The tram could not proceed. The tram company organized taxis for all passengers which were inside the blocked tram which was waiting for the car to be towed away. Frankfurt court said that the illegally parked driver must pay for the cost of all those taxis, that was 970 euro. The driver tried to argue that towing lasted too long (that's why so high taxi bill), that is against the principle to keep the damages low, but the court disagreed. 

https://justillon.de/2018/04/falschparker-muss-taxikosten-fuer-strassenbahnreisende-uebernehmen/

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