Mark Perenich has been practicing personal injury law in Florida since 1984, he answer your questions if you have been in a car accident.
If you have been in a car accident, and either party was in a rental car, there are somethings you should know:
In a nutshell: The graves amendment makes it very difficult to hold the rental company liable under most theories of negligence.
Graves Amendment, 49 U.S.C § 30106
“An 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: 1) the owner is engaged in the trade or business of renting or leasing motor vehicles; and 2) there is no negligence or criminal wrongdoing on the part of the owner.”
The Law in Florida
Before Graves Amendment was codified in 2005, In Florida ‘Voracious Liability’ was imposed on the owners of Motor Vehicles for negligence of the driver in adherence to Florida Code § 324.021(9)(b)(1) ‘Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine’, which made short term lessor of an automobile liable for the damages caused but only up to $100,000 per person, $300,000.00 total for bodily injury, $50,000.00 for property damage.
The conflict between the two laws (state v/s Federal) which arose after the enactment Graves Amendment continued for a long time up until 2013 when the Florida Supreme Court clearly stated that “the Graves Amendment preempts liability under Florida Statutes Section 324.021(9)(b)(1)” in Rosado V. DiamlerChrysler. The court rejected the contention that 324.021(9)(b)(1) is a financial responsibility law.
Exception to Graves Amendment
Negligent entrustment – when the owner or lessor of the vehicle is negligent in entrusting the vehicle to an incompetent driver.
Independent Negligence- When the owner or lessor of vehicle is found independently negligent for ex. they didn’t maintained the vehicle in good condition.
Negligence by company’s personnel – When the employee/ staff / driver of the owner / lessor of the vehicle was negligent and caused damages.
Only applicable to owners of leased or rented vehicle not for Loaner Transactions.
If you have any questions about the above article please call Mark Perenich today. 727-386-9677
Advocating for the average person in the personal injury field
[Mark Perenich & the Perenich Caufield Avril Noyes team]
Apart from being a law firm that has fought for and represented victims in Florida, since past many decades, we are also a firm that believes in protecting the rights of the citizens of Florida wherever they are being neglected or harmed. There are various issues for which reforms are needed and we, not only as Lawyers but also as common citizens support them.
Bodily Injury Liability Protection
It’s hard to believe but Florida is among the only two states in the country with no ‘Bodily Injury Liability Protection’. Currently financial responsibility that needs to be demonstrated by vehicle owners of private passenger cars is fulfilled by only two ‘Protections’, namely – Property damage liability protection & Personal Injury Protection. It is not required under law for a private passenger car owner to have Bodily injury liability protection i.e. if someone gets seriously injured due to their vehicle, the driver of the vehicle does not need to have Insurance for paying the compensation and other costs to the seriously injured victim.
We support the Financial Responsibility Legislation, which will make the present self-insurance requirements more secure and will require a private passenger car owner to have a minimum Bodily injury liability protection of $25,000 per person or $50,000 per incident. This legislation will help in reducing the insurance premiums paid by financially responsible car owners and will go on in ensuring that the taxpayers of Florida and the Trauma centers operating in the state of Florida save millions over the years.
Bad Faith Protection
When policyholders pay their premiums to insurance companies for liability policies, they are doing so to ensure that their business does not face a crisis or goes bankrupt if their business becomes liable to someone. Sometimes, the insurance companies fail to inform the policyholder regarding settlement in a case or simply refuse to accept reasonable settlements; basically they act in bad faith even though the laws in Florida require them to act in good faith to their policy holders.
We are against the bad faith that the Insurance companies demonstrate and also against the Insurance companies who do so. If the Insurance companies are allowed to evade their responsibility, it will possess a significant risk to businesses of Florida as businesses can face excess judgments because the Insurance companies didn’t do their Job properly or acted in bad faith.
Protection of Best Interest of Children Having Birth Related Neurological Injury
In 1988 Florida Legislature created NICA or (The Florida Birth-Related) Neurological Injury Compensation Association. It was created to provide benefits to children who had sustained a spinal cord or brain injury caused by mechanical injury or oxygen deprivation during labor, delivery, or in the immediate post-delivery period. The program was also created to avert an Insurance crisis being faced by Doctors and healthcare establishments practicing Obstetrics and as a mean to provide compensation on ‘no-fault’ basis to the class of children who suffered a significant Neurological Injury due to the reasons mentioned above and left the children “permanently and substantially mentally and physically impaired.”
The Florida Legislature had enacted Sections 766.301-766.316, Florida Statutes, to create NICA as a benefit program but today most of the executive staff and ‘board members’ in NICA are representatives from Healthcare and Insurance industries and not people from the affected families.
Needless to say, a conflict of interest exists between people who sit on NICA’s board and the people whose children suffer from birth related Neurological Injury, which can be seen from the numerous litigations in the past among the two parties who have now become ‘adversaries’.
We support the legislation that incorporates changes to the statues that govern NICA and make it a body that goes on to deliver on the promises it intended to and for which it was originally created.
Against the proposed curbs and limitations on Medical Payments
A victim who has been injured has all the rights to seek the best medical care possible but a bill was filed in 2013 according to which in a trial a jury will assess and grant past and future medical expense in cases of wrongful death and personal injury.
We are against the bill as the provisions in it are already fulfilled, Sections 501.1(a) and (b), Florida Standard Jury Instructions, state “you should award claimant an amount of money that the greater weight of the evidence shows will fairly and adequately compensate him/her for his/her loss, injury or damage, including any damage claimant is reasonably certain to have/experience in the future…” and section 501.2(b) states that a jury is to award, “the reasonable value or expense of hospitalization and medical and nursing care and treatment necessarily or reasonably obtained by claimant in the past or to be so obtained in the future.”
The only thing this bill will do is increase the cost of litigations especially for the plaintiffs who will have to bear additional expenses to get properly compensated for the medical expenses they bore and/or will bear in future.
Mark Perenich is a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater please call him if you would like to know more about your case 727-386-9677
While injuries from car accidents are not uncommon, and thousands of people every year deal with severe injuries from car accidents and other transportation accidents. While every car accident is different, there are nevertheless certain similarities and common injuries that result from these accidents, and certain treatments that can work wonders for people who have been affected by these accidents.
Injuries from car accidents typically include many different types of head or neck injuries, including concussions or whiplash. Whiplash is created by the passenger or driver of the car having their body thrown in one direction while their head and neck snap back in another direction at great force. Similarly, concussions occur when the brain slams into the skull at a high rate of speed after a crash or other transportation issue that injures a person.
Other accidents and injuries involving cars include lower back, neck, and upper chest and back pain (including, but not limited to the ribs, and other areas of the chest, back, and sternum), which are all typically caused by the seated position a driver or passenger is in at the time of a car crash, combined with their collision with the car’s doors, wheel, or seats.
Treatments Abound For Car Accident Injuries
First and foremost, for people in car accidents, it is critical that treatment is undertaken with a medical doctor or team of medical professionals. Treatment could be the healing of broken bones, repair of torn tendons or ligaments, and other medical procedures like X-rays, MRIs, and CAT scans to ensure no serious damage has been undertaken, or, that damage is treated professionally and with the help of good, solid medicine.
From there, treatment can branch out into physical therapy work to repair bones, ligaments, joints, or even movements like walking and talking, depending on the severity of the car accident or injury sustained. Other treatments can include the use of a chiropractor to treat general neck and back discomfort, as well as to optimize the immune system and leave the patient in question in much better shape after the car accident than they had been previously.
Other treatments may include things like medications prescribed by doctors, from painkillers and muscle relaxers, to more serious medications involving therapeutic drugs that can calm a patient after a particularly gruesome or horrifying car accident. These medications can quickly and permanently help a patient overcome the physical and psychological issues in treatment after a car accident, and provide them the opportunity to recover fully no matter the situation.
All in all, car accidents can be difficult things to overcome, but for people who are concerned with their development after one, and passionate about their treatment, it is possible to overcome a car accident and move forward with life. While it takes hard work and tutelage and monitoring by medical professionals, you can overcome and treat car accident injuries and issues and live a healthy, happy life going forward.
A client called because he looked on website and it told him that car owners in Florida are required to have insurance coverage in the event of an auto accident. The law is called the Florida Financial Responsibility Law, the client was looking at the DMV’s website and found the following:
What type of automobile insurance coverage is required for a person causing a crash?
The Florida Financial Responsibility Law requires that any person at fault in a crash resulting in bodily injury and property damage to others must have in effect at the time of the crash full liability insurance coverage. This coverage includes minimum limits of bodily injury liability of $10,000 per person, $20,000 per crash, $10,000 property damage liability per crash, and personal injury protection limits of $10,000 per person per crash.
It seems that the DMV was referring to the statute below:
324.021?Definitions; minimum insurance required.—The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall, for the purpose of this chapter, have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1)?MOTOR VEHICLE.—Every self-propelled vehicle which is designed and required to be licensed for use upon a highway, including trailers and semitrailers designed for use with such vehicles, except traction engines, road rollers, farm tractors, power shovels, and well drillers, and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead wires but not operated upon rails, but not including any bicycle or moped. However, the term “motor vehicle” shall not include any motor vehicle as defined in s. 627.732(3) when the owner of such vehicle has complied with the requirements of ss. 627.730-627.7405, inclusive, unless the provisions of s. 324.051 apply; and, in such case, the applicable proof of insurance provisions of s. 320.02 apply.
(7)?PROOF OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.—That proof of ability to respond in damages for liability on account of crashes arising out of the use of a motor vehicle:
(a)?In the amount of $10,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, one person in any one crash;
(b)?Subject to such limits for one person, in the amount of $20,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, two or more persons in any one crash;
(c)?In the amount of $10,000 because of injury to, or destruction of, property of others in any one crash; and
(d)?With respect to commercial motor vehicles and nonpublic sector buses, in the amounts specified in ss. 627.7415 and 627.742, respectively
Note the part of the statute that says “, the term “motor vehicle” shall not include any motor vehicle as defined in s. 627.732(3)” that motor vehicle is defined in 627.732(3) below:
(3)?“Motor vehicle” means any self-propelled vehicle with four or more wheels which is of a type both designed and required to be licensed for use on the highways of this state and any trailer or semitrailer designed for use with such vehicle and includes:
(a)?A “private passenger motor vehicle,” which is any motor vehicle which is a sedan, station wagon, or jeep-type vehicle and, if not used primarily for occupational, professional, or business purposes, a motor vehicle of the pickup, panel, van, camper, or motor home type.
(b)?A “commercial motor vehicle,” which is any motor vehicle which is not a private passenger motor vehicle.
The term “motor vehicle” does not include a mobile home or any motor vehicle which is used in mass transit, other than public school transportation, and designed to transport more than five passengers exclusive of the operator of the motor vehicle and which is owned by a municipality, a transit authority, or a political subdivision of the state.
We can see that the term motor vehicle is very broad and encompasses most of the vehicles that travel on the road. In short there is no law that demands one have minimum coverage for bodily injury per crash or per accident.