CACI No. 3903M. Loss of Use of Personal Property (Economic Damage)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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3903M.Loss of Use of Personal Property (Economic Damage)
[Insert number, e.g., “13.”] The loss of use of [name of plaintiff]’s [item of
personal property].
To recover damages for loss of use, [name of plaintiff] must prove the
reasonable cost to rent a similar [item of personal property] for the
amount of time reasonably necessary to repair or replace the [item of
personal property].
New September 2003
Sources and Authority
“[A]n owners recovery for being deprived of the use of a damaged vehicle is
generally to be determined with reference to the period of time reasonably
required for the making of repairs.” (Valencia v. Shell Oil Co. (1944) 23 Cal.2d
840, 844 [147 P.2d 558].)
“There appears to be no logical or practical 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, and we have concluded that when the
owner of a negligently destroyed commercial vehicle has suffered injury by
being deprived of the use of the vehicle during the period required for
replacement, he is entitled, upon proper pleading and proof, to recover for loss
of use in order to ‘compensate for all the detriment proximately caused’ by the
wrongful destruction.” (Reynolds v. Bank of America National Trust & Savings
Assn. (1959) 53 Cal.2d 49, 50-51 [345 P.2d 926].)
‘Loss of use’ of property is different from ‘loss’ of property. To take a simple
example, assume that an automobile is stolen from its owner. The value of the
‘loss of use’ of the car is the rental value of a substitute vehicle; the value of the
‘loss’ of the car is its replacement cost. The nature of ‘loss of use’ damages is
described in California Jurisprudence Third as: ‘The measure of damages for the
loss of use of personal property may be determined with reference to the rental
value of similar property which the plaintiff can hire for use during the period
when he is deprived of the use of his own property.’ (Collin v. American
Empire Insurance Co. (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 787, 818 [26 Cal.Rptr.2d 391],
internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, § 1905
California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar) Vehicles and Other Personal Property, § 13.6
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss,
§ 52.32 (Matthew Bender)
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages (Matthew Bender)
6 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 64, Damages: Tort (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts § 5:17 (Thomson Reuters)

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