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What to Do If You are In a Car Accident During a Test Drive

What to Do If You are In a Car Accident During a Test Drive

By | Accident, Car Accidents | No Comments

If you have ever purchased a car, then you know how important it is to take it for a test drive before you make your decision to buy it. The test drive is an exciting step in the process of buying a car. While accidents occurring during a test drive don’t happen very often, if one does happen, there are some questions that are raised that are different from those asked about normal car accidents. Here are some of the questions that arise when there is an accident during a test drive, and the answers to them.

Who Is Responsible for the Car Crash?

Like any car accident, in an accident with a car that is being test driven, the party whose negligence or carelessness caused the accident will be considered responsible for the damages that result. If you committed a traffic violation, were negligent, reckless, or distracted while test driving a vehicle, then you may be found to be liable for the accident.

There are no special rules designated for accidents that occur during a test drive in determining liability. It’s expected that you familiarize yourself with any special nuances (the car’s features and sight lines) before you begin driving it; and that you use proper caution as you develop a level of comfort driving the car (for example, steering, braking, accelerations, etc.).  

If you are involved in a test drive car accident, make sure that you take the same steps you would after any type of car wreck. Record the names and information of all involved drivers, passengers, and witnesses; take pictures of the cars involved and the scene of the accident; report the accident to your insurance company and the police; and, most importantly, call an experienced car accident attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

Whose Insurance Will Cover the Accident?

Whose insurance will cover the accident will depend on who is found to be at fault. It is especially important to have a car accident lawyer advocating for you during this process, so that if you are not at fault, or if you are only partially at fault, that you do not get taken advantage of by the other insurance companies.

There are typically at least three insurance companies involved when there is an accident during a test drive: the dealership’s, yours, and the other driver’s (there may be one or more other drivers involved, each with their own insurance).

Car dealerships have to carry fleet insurance on all of the vehicles on their lot, and a test driver is usually covered under that policy. Usually, fleet coverage will cover all damages that result from an accident that happens during a test drive, regardless of whose fault the accident was. However, in serious accidents, or when the test driver or the driver of the other involved vehicle is clearly at fault, the dealership may seek to have damages paid in a third-party claim.

If you are found to be at fault for the accident, and the dealership or other involved parties decide to file a claim against you, it will be your insurance company that has to pay for damages, up to the limits of your liability coverage.

If the other driver that is involved in the accident is found to be responsible, then the car dealership will not be able to hold you liable for any damages, instead, they will have to make a claim against the other driver’s insurance. You too can make a claim against the other driver’s insurance if you sustain injuries in the accident.

Seek Help Right Away for a Test Drive Accident

It is easy to get lost in all the red tape that accompanies car accidents. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident during a test drive, let Boca Raton car accident lawyer, Joe Osborne, help you navigate all the complexities involved in making a claim. Contact the Florida law firm of Osborne & Associates at (561) 293-2600, for an evaluation of your car accident and help with how to proceed.

Do Tough Seatbelt Laws Work? Asks Boca Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

By | Car Accidents | No Comments

The effectiveness of enforcement of seatbelt use laws is being debated, but there’s no debate their use saves lives says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Those using seatbelts are less likely to be killed in vehicle accidents. Though seatbelt usage has increased over the years, there are still too many of us who can’t be bothered to use them. Thirty-four states, including Florida, allow law enforcement officers to pull over vehicles if occupants aren’t following the law.

In Florida front passengers must be belted and anyone under 18 years old needs to be restrained. Though strict seatbelt laws are well intentioned, how effective are they? asks Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Fifteen states allow for ticketing due to lack of seatbelt use only if the vehicle is pulled over for some other reason. New Hampshire (the “Live Free or Die” state, where that’s taken literally when it comes to seatbelts) is the only state without a seatbelt law, according to the Insurance Journal.

The federal government estimates that seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved about 14,000 occupants’ lives in 2015. Almost half of the 22,400 occupants killed in vehicle crashes that year weren’t using seatbelts. Because of the high number of deaths of those travelling unbelted, some safety experts claim more laws allowing vehicles to be pulled over just for lack of belt usage (known as “primary enforcement”) are needed.

Perhaps motivated by the most dramatic two-year increase in accident related deaths in decades, laws are being proposed in several states to toughen enforcement. These laws have critics including those who see them as more government interference in our personal lives and the fact these types of laws can be used to disproportionately target minority drivers.

Seat belt use nationally has gone from nearly 71% in 2000 to 90% in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

  • Florida came in just under the national average, at 89.4%. Usage in other states ranged from 69.5% to 97.3%.
  • NHTSA estimates that last year 92% of drivers used seat belts in states with primary enforcement, compared to 83% for states where there need to be other reasons to pull the vehicle over (or “secondary enforcement”).

A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzing data from 2000 to 2014 in states that upgraded from secondary to primary enforcement puts into doubt whether primary enforcement of seatbelt laws is better at saving lives. Sam Harper, an associate professor at McGill University who co-authored the study, said there’s no evidence it makes a difference because people will buckle up, or not, regardless of the type of enforcement.

Though some nationwide studies claim to show primary seatbelt use enforcement doesn’t negatively impact minorities, the American Civil Liberties Union published a study of the law’s negative effects in Florida. It found that African American motorists were stopped and ticketed for seat belt violations nearly twice as often as white motorists statewide in 2014.

That disparity was higher in some counties where African American drivers encountered tougher enforcement than White drivers. African American drivers were,

  • Four times more frequently ticketed than white motorists by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in 2011,
  • Ticketed three times more often than white motorists by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in 2014, and
  • Ticketed nearly three times more often than white motorists by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in 2014.

No matter what state laws say about seat belt use or how they are enforced what’s more important are the laws of physics. If you and your passengers are unrestrained and involved in a vehicle accident, you are likely to slam into the interior of the vehicle, into each other and possibly thrown out of the vehicle. That greatly increases the risks of serious injuries or deaths occurring in the accident.

Whether or not seatbelts were used, if you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a vehicle accident, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.