Vicarious Liability Ban Being Tested in Florida

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. --- Though the Graves Amendment portion of the transportation bill that was passed last fall placed a federal ban on vicarious liability, apparently, there are still circumstances in which rental and leasing companies can be held responsible.

In March, a Florida judge ruled that the lessor could still be required to pay damages, according to Automotive News. In cases where the state has “financial responsibility” rules for companies that rent or lease vehicles, the stretch of the vicarious liability ban is not as far-reaching as it first seemed. For instance, if customers have less insurance than the state stipulates, then the lessor is responsible, under Florida law.

Brevard County Judge Mitchell Barlow ruled that Enterprise Leasing Co. may have to pay up to $500,000 to Jo Ellen and Robert Poole for injuries sustained by Jo Ellen Poole in a 2002 collision with a vehicle leased from Enterprise, the report said. Though Enterprise argued that the Graves Amendment cleared the company of liability, Barlow said that the bill’s intent was to block claims in states with “unlimited” vicarious liability.

The report said Enterprise plans to appeal the decision. The Center for Constitutional Litigation, a Washington D.C. outfit that represents the Association of Trial Lawyers in America, suggested that a block on the Poole’s claim should prompt a call for the vicarious liability ban to be declared unconstitutional. Though, this case did not involve the constitutionality of the ban.

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

 
 

Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

Trump and Regulations: An Alt-Fuel View

With 2025 emissions targets back in review, manufacturers, alt-fuel, and alt-power suppliers weigh in on the potential impacts of Trump’s initiatives.

Why GM’s Telematics Announcement is a Really Big Deal

Enabling a telematics connection at the factory — and not through an aftermarket hardware installation — is a game changer for fleets.

Four Thoughts From the 2016 Conference Calls

Sifting through the notes of Avis Budget Group’s and Hertz Global Holdings’ recent fourth quarter conference calls give us some trend lines to watch out for in 2017. (Of course, this gives us an incomplete snapshot, as Enterprise Holdings is privately held.)

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.

>