Under a federal law called the Graves Amendment, “[a]n owner of a motor vehicle that rents or leases the vehicle to a person shall not be liable under the law of any State or political subdivision thereof, by reason of being the owner of the vehicle for harm to persons or property that results or arises out of the use, operation, or possession of the vehicle during the period of the rental or lease, if…the owner is engaged in the trade or business of renting or leasing motor vehicles.” What this means is that rental car companies are basically free of liability for the cars they rent.
This is oftentimes problematic for Floridians injured by the negligence of those who rent cars and get into an accident. When asked the question, “would you like to buy insurance on the rental,” most people decline thinking their own auto insurance will cover them or the false belief that the rental company will be responsible for any accident. While all drivers in Florida are required to have insurance, there is a loophole in the Graves Amendment that does not require rental companies to inquire about the insurance of their customers.
Recently, Representative Frank Artiles and Senator Anitere Flores introduced House Bill 819 and Senate Bill 976 that would require car rental companies to require out-of-state renters to purchase insurance. Lobbyists for the powerful rental car industry are obviously fighting these Bills tooth and nail.
The attorneys for the LaBovick Law Group support HB 819 and SB 976. All too often we see clients who have been injured by the negligence of an out-of-state renter and there is no insurance. If you have been injured by the negligent driving of another, call us today for a free consultation.