Judge Rules That Florida Law Applies To Auto Accident That Took Place In North Carolina Making A Rental Company Liable For $700,000

On April 14, 2006, a Minnesota Court ruled that Florida law applied to an automobile accident that took place in North Carolina between Minnesota residents and a vehicle rented from Hertz Rental Cars at a Florida Airport.

In August of 2003, a father and his son were driving a vehicle while on vacation in North Carolina when a vehicle crossed over the center median and collided with them head-on. The collision instantly killed the father and severely injured his teenage son. The vehicle driven by the negligent driver was owned by the Hertz Corporation and rented to the driver at a Florida airport. YJB attorney Bob Dolan represented the heirs of the deceased father and his son against the Hertz Corporation and filed suit in Minnesota Federal Court. Hertz brought a summary judgment motion before the court arguing that North Carolina law applied because the accident took place there. If Hertz argument would have prevailed, this innocent family would have recovered nothing from Hertz because under North Carolina law Hertz would not have been held responsible solely as the owner of the vehicle. Bob Dolan argued that Florida law applied to the responsibility of Hertz because Florida was the state in which the vehicle was rented from. Under Florida law Hertz would be liable solely as the owner of the vehicle that caused this tragic event even though Hertz was not the negligent driver. After extensive research and oral arguments by both parties the Minnesota Federal Court agreed with Mr. Dolan and ruled that Florida law was the appropriate law to be applied to this accident.

Due to hard work and the experience that Mr. Dolan and YJB has in handling thousands of personal injury and auto accident cases throughout the county they have been able to help these innocent victims potentially recover the difference between $0, which Hertz believed it owed under North Carolina law, and $700,000 under applicable Florida law. Although no amount will ever reverse the tragic events that took place that day in August of 2003, the court’s ruling will help the victims’ family as they move forward in their lives.