FADA gets a bill over the hurdles to save you time, money and aggravation!

HB 977, effective July 1, 2020, removes vicarious liability for accidents in your vehicles when driven by customers who have cars/trucks in for service.

This legislation removes your liability for accidents you should never have been responsible for.  Going forward when you provide a temporary replacement vehicle at no charge/reasonable charge to a service customer while you are servicing the customer’s vehicle, you will not be held liable, vicariously or directly, for harm to persons or property as a result of that customer’s use of your loaner. This law protects your store or your dealer-owned rental or leasing company.

You must execute a rental or use agreement and obtain a copy of the person’s driver’s license and insurance information.  If either of these documents are later proven invalid, your protection continues unless you had actual knowledge of these issues at the time of the provision of the vehicle.

There are limited, but important exceptions to this new law:

  • This immunity disappears if you are negligent or involved in some criminal wrongdoing as part of this transaction and loaner agreement.
  • It does not apply if the driver is your employee unless it is because that employee’s personal vehicle was in your shop for repair, service or adjustment.
  • There is no liability protection when the agent or principal of the dealership is the customer.
  • This law does not directly address the use of vehicles by employees or customers in test drives or vehicle loaners during the course of a prospective sale – only substitute service vehicles.

Why is this significant?

It was the only bill in a cadre of 11 tort reform bills that passed the 2020 Session. That was no mistake.  We salute our bill sponsors Representative Bob Rommel (R, Naples) and Senator Jeff Brandes (R, St. Pete) for their efforts to push this bill through some tricky hurdles on the last day of Session.

Most importantly, we thank every FADA Member who supported us in 2019 with very generous CAR-PAC contributions.  You helped create the access necessary to get the heavy lifting done on the last night of session, at 9:30 pm.

HB 977 will save you time, money and the distractions of unwarranted lawsuits. You made this happen with your support of FADA – thank you so much! This is a win for the record books.