Protecting the Rights
of Injury Victims

Thomas DeLattre and Glen D. Wieland

What happens if I crash my rental car on vacation in Florida?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2024 | Auto Accident |

Florida’s year-round warm weather and amusement parks make it a top vacation destination.

Renting a car when you are on vacation can be extremely convenient. You can go where you want, when you want and not have to worry about the expense and hassle of public transportation or ride shares.

However, an accident in your rental car can disrupt your entire vacation. Rental car accidents are not uncommon, since people driving rentals are typically travelers and unfamiliar with the roads and highways.

What to do immediately after the accident

When you are involved in an accident in your rental car, you should take the same steps as you would in any other car accident. Call the police and make a police report and report the accident to your insurance company and the rental car company.

The next step is determining who is responsible for the accident. Whether it is you or the other driver, the rental car company will generally not be liable if you caused the accident under the Graves Amendment.

This is a federal law that went into effect in 2005. The law gives rental car companies immunity from lawsuits for accidents that happen when one of their cars is being rented or used for a short-term lease.

What this means to you as a car rental driver is that the rental car company is not required to provide insurance for someone injured by a rental car driver.

Exceptions to the Graves Amendment

There are some exceptions to this law. A car rental company could be held liable if it did not comply with Florida’s car rental laws. Failing to follow these laws is considered negligence.

Some of these laws include renting the car to an unlicensed driver, failing to perform proper maintenance on the vehicle or improperly servicing the vehicle.

The rental car company could even lose its immunity if evidence shows that the car rental company knew or should have known that renting to a certain person was negligent.

When you rent a car, you will likely be asked if you would like to pay extra for insurance. You do not necessarily need this, since most personal insurance policies cover accidents that occur in rental cars.

A rental car accident caused by another negligent driver can result in the rest of your vacation being filled with stress and problems, rather than fun and enjoyment. As with any car accident, you could receive compensation for your damages after a rental car accident.

Due to the unusual nature of rental car accidents, the process can be more complicated. You may consider having professional assistance when filing a personal injury claim based on a rental car accident.


FindLaw Network