Driving can be one of the most exciting things out there if you are not stuck in traffic, that is. Taking your car and hitting the open road is just fun, and it easily takes your mind off things. It is just you and the road, with no distractions or stresses. Unfortunately, driving can also be quite dangerous at times. Even if you are the most careful driver out there, accidents still happen. This can be further problematic if you are driving a rental, especially in a place like Florida, for instance.
Here we have outlined the dangers of renting a car in Florida.
High Possibility of Car Accidents
Whenever you drive a car, whether it is your own or a rental, you don’t exactly set out to have an accident, but it happens nonetheless. It is not just about your driving abilities and how careful you are, because there are others on the street that might not be as careful. Unfortunately, that happens quite often in Florida. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, and it is often crowded. With such an influx of people comes a rise in car accident rates, which seem to be only increasing by the year.
Stats from 2017 show that there were over 400,000 crashes, involving close to 700,000 people! Yes, you read correctly. The average number of crashes per day was as high as 1,098! This goes to show just how risky it can be to drive a rental car in Florida as the possibility of having an accident is quite high. Out of those accidents, over 3,000 people died and over a quarter of a million persons were injured.
Perhaps the biggest risk of renting a car in Florida lies in the liability and who it falls upon. In this state, liability often falls upon the driver rather than the rental company. This means that, in case of lawsuits, it is you who will suffer the consequences, not the company who rented you the car. As you can see on this URL, this complicates things for you, especially if the accident were not your fault. In these cases, you will definitely need to hire a specialized car accident lawyer because they can help you get out of this mess. You will need to prove that the accident was due to no negligence on your side, and it was the other parties that were at fault.
If you get competent enough lawyers, you might even be able to sue other parties for compensation for economic and emotional damages. You should know, though, that the rental company will most likely not be liable for anything, but the other drivers’ insurance companies might compensate you if you have a case. The only time the rental company might be liable for the accident is if it were proven negligible in any way. This means there has to be a problem with the vehicle, like the brakes not working or other problems that the driver wasn’t aware of and might have caused the incident. If that is the case, then the rental company can be liable and might be sued for compensation.
That wasn’t always the case, though. In the past, Florida courts held the rental companies as liable as the owners of the vehicle who went through an accident. But a federal statute changed all that and it protected rental companies from legal liability because although the company does own the car, it is not liable for how the driver uses it.
The Rise in Alcohol and Drug-related Accidents
Florida being the recreational place it is, another risk associated with driving in the state has to do with the rising percentage of people who drink/do drugs and drive. Out of those 2017 crashes, over 6,000 were caused by drivers with some form of impairment due to the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. This is rather surprising considering the fact that Florida has the same restrictions on driving under the influence, and driving with BAC of .08% or higher is illegal like the rest of the country. But that still doesn’t stop people from driving under the influence and causing accidents, which can destroy your rental car.
At the end of the day, you need to be careful in Florida as you would be in any other state when renting a car. Getting into a car accident entails all sorts of complications, and it is a messy experience as it is. If you should get into an accident, the first thing you need to do is find a good car accident lawyer.