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Langden V. O'conno Notes

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LAGDEN V. O'CONNOR FACTS In cases of this type accident hire companies, or credit hire companies, as they are variously known, provide a service additional to hiring out replacement cars. Unlike the arrangements normally made by car hire companies, credit hire companies do not require the motorist to produce an acceptable debit or credit card in advance ("up front"). Nor, in practice, is the hirer required to pay the hire charges in any other way. Instead, when a motorist seeks a replacement car for the period while his own car is off the road, the company checks whether the motorist seems to have an unanswerable claim against the other driver. Having satisfied itself on this score, the company provides the car sought and then seeks to recover its charges from the negligent driver's insurers. For these services, which go beyond simple car hire, credit hire companies charge an additional fee. In Dimond v Lovell [2002] 1 AC 384 the majority of the House expressed the view that a car owner cannot recover this additional fee element from the negligent motorist or his insurers. The damages recoverable for loss of use are limited to the "spot rate" quoted by hirers other than accident hire companies. In Dimond v Lovell Mrs Dimond could have found the money needed to hire a replacement car until she was reimbursed by Mr Lovell or his insurers. The case proceeded on this basis. Understandably enough, she preferred to take advantage of the services of an accident hire firm. But what if the innocent motorist, like many people, is unable to afford the cost of hiring a replacement car from a car hire company? Unlike Mrs Dimond, he cannot find the necessary money. So, unless he can use the services of a credit hire company, he will be unable to obtain a replacement car. While his car is being repaired he will have to make do as best he can without a car of his own. If this happens, he will be without his own car and in practice will receive little or no recompense for the inconvenience involved. HOLDING LORD HOPE (In the majority along with Lord Nicholls and Lord Slyn) There is however another principle, as was made clear in Dimond v Lovell [2002 ] 1 AC 384 , that must be given effect to in the calculation of the amount of the damages. This is the principle that requires additional benefits which are obtained as a result of taking reasonable steps to mitigate loss to be brought into account when the damages are being calculated. The question which has been raised in this case is whether this principle is subject to

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