Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Federal Ban on Vicarious Liability Not So Airtight

April 20, 2006

The federal ban on vicarious liability for vehicle rental and leasing companies took a major blow when a Florida judge ruled last month that a lessor still may be required to pay damages if a state has "financial responsibility" rules for companies that rent or lease vehicles, according to an Automotive News report.Florida law makes lessors responsible if their customers have less insurance than the state prescribes. Under the county judge’s ruling, Enterprise Leasing Co. may have to pay as much as $500,000 to Jo Ellen Poole and Robert Poole. Jo Ellen Poole was injured in a 2002 collision with a vehicle leased from Enterprise. Enterprise argued that the new federal law absolved the company of liability in the case. However, the judge ruled that Congress meant to block claims only in states with “unlimited” vicarious liability. Enterprise plans on appealing the judge’s ruling, according to Automotive News.
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