The Alabama Supreme Court, in a recent case, ruled that loss of use damages could be recovered in a property damages case even though the commercial vehicle involved was rendered a total loss. This ruling reversed a previous decision that really needed to be changed. The Court made a good decision in my opinion. The owner of a commercial vehicle can now recover the loss of revenues relating to the vehicle’s use for a reasonable time as damages.

The Alabama Court looked to other jurisdictions that have allowed recovery for loss of use during a reasonable time in which the owner seeks a replacement for the destroyed vehicle. Like those courts, the Court saw no logical reason why a distinction should be drawn between cases in which the property is totally destroyed and those in which it has been injured but is repairable. The Court explained that the purpose of compensatory damages in Alabama is to make the injured party whole by reimbursing him for the loss suffered.

The Supreme Court concluded that the current rule, established by a previous court and followed by subsequent cases, was insufficient to accomplish that purpose when the commercial vehicle at issue is destroyed and a replacement vehicle is not immediately available. The Court thus modified the existing rule to allow the recovery of reasonable loss of use damages during the time reasonably required to procure a suitable replacement vehicle.

Source: Associated Press

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