The Supreme Court of Texas held that property owners can recover damages for loss of use due to the total destruction of their property, joining the majority view of jurisdictions holding loss-of-use damages are not limited to cases where property is only partially destroyed. J&D Towing, LLC v. American Alternative Ins. Co., 2016 WL 91201 (Tex. Jan. 8, 2016).
After its only truck was in an accident caused by an underinsured driver, the insured sued its insurer for loss of use damages. At trial, the jury awarded the insured loss of use damages and the insurer appealed. The court of appeals held that Texas law does not permit loss of use damages in total destruction cases and reversed and rendered judgment for the insurer.
On appeal, the Supreme Court of Texas held that the owner of personal property that has been totally destroyed may recover loss of use damages in addition to the fair market value of the property immediately before the injury. The Court reasoned that the previous distinction between partially and completely destroyed property for purposes of loss of use damages is nonsensical and then followed the majority trend in other jurisdictions permitting loss of use damages in total destruction cases. The judgment of the court of appeals was reversed and judgment was rendered for the insured.