Are you shopping for a new car in St. Petersburg? If so, you might test drive numerous vehicles before deciding which new car to purchase. If you are test-driving cars in the area, it is essential to understand your rights and responsibilities if you are involved in a car accident during a test drive in St. Petersburg, FL.
Who Is Liable for a Car Accident During a Test Drive in St. Petersburg, FL?
Regardless of whether you are driving your car, a borrowed car, or a car for a test drive, liability for test drive car accidents is determined by who caused the accident. An auto accident lawyer investigates the crash and gathers evidence to prove how the car crash occurred and who is responsible for causing the crash.
Examples of parties who could be responsible for damages caused by a test drive car accident include:
- The car dealer could be liable if it failed to maintain the vehicle and that failure led to a car accident. The dealer is responsible for the actions of its employee during a test drive that contributed to the cause of the accident.
- You could be responsible if you cause an accident while test-driving a car in St. Petersburg.
- The other driver may be at fault for failing to follow Florida traffic laws, drunk driving, or other wrongdoing that led to the crash.
- A car manufacturer could be liable if the vehicle or a part was defective and that defective was the cause of the car accident.
As with any car accident, it is essential to establish fault for the cause of a test drive accident. Establishing cause allows you to identify the responsible party so you can pursue a personal injury claim for damages. If more than one party is responsible, the responsible parties could have liability for a claim.
Does a Dealership Provide Insurance Coverage for Test Drives?
Car dealerships must purchase garage liability insurance, also called fleet insurance, for all vehicles on their lot. The insurance policies cover legal liability for property damage and bodily injury arising out of the operation of their business. In most cases, garage liability insurance covers the damage caused by test drive accidents.
Whose Insurance Company Is Responsible for Paying Claims After a Test Drive Accident in St. Petersburg?
The insurance company providing coverage for whoever is at fault for the car accident could be liable for the resulting property damage and bodily injury claims. Some possible scenarios for a car accident during a test drive include:
- Your PIP insurance provider should cover your medical bills and lost wages up to the policy limits and restrictions, regardless of who is at fault. If you have liability insurance coverage and caused the car crash, your company could be liable for damages victims sustained in the crash.
- Florida does not require drivers to carry liability insurance. However, if the other driver caused the crash and has liability insurance, their liability insurance company could be liable.
- The car dealership’s insurance policy might cover the damages caused by a car accident during a test drive, even if you are at fault or partially at fault for causing the crash.
Sorting out insurance coverage for a test drive accident can be challenging. Insurance companies try to avoid liability for claims. Therefore, an insurance company might deny liability and point blame toward other potentially liable parties.
An experienced St. Petersburg car accident lawyer can sort out liability. An attorney can protect your right to recover compensation for your damages and defend you from allegations of fault for causing the accident.
Common Causes of Accidents During a Test Drive in St. Petersburg, FL
Car accidents during test drives happen for many of the same reasons as other car crashes. However, some common causes of test drive accidents that are specific to conditions during the test drive include:
- Being unfamiliar with the area where the car dealership is located caused confusion while navigating the area during the test drive
- Distractions within the vehicle, such as controls and features that are new, talking to a sales representative, and unfamiliar lights and sounds
- Driving a vehicle that has a different “feel,” such as more sensitive brakes or there is more power when you press the gas pedal
Do not assume you are at fault if you are involved in a test drive car accident. Avoid admitting fault until you speak with an attorney.
Report the accident to your insurance provider and seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. As soon as possible, obtain legal advice from an attorney who specializes in car accident cases.