Rhode Island Extends Vicarious Liability Protection One Year
PROVIDENCE, RI — Protection for owners of rented and leased vehicles from unlimited vicarious liability lawsuits was extended for one year by the Rhode Island legislature. The Senate has approved an amended HB 5627, extending the vicarious liability protections first won in 2003 until June 2, 2006, according to the Truck and Leasing Association (TRALA). The legislation, as introduced, sought a permanent extension but was later amended in the House to be a two-year extension, and then again in the Senate to sunset in only one year. Gov. Donald Carcieri (R) is expected to sign the legislation.Under the Rhode Island vicarious liability reforms passed in 2003, the owner of a vehicle leased for one year or more cannot be subjected to a vicarious liability lawsuit if the lessee carries minimum insurance coverage of $100,000/$300,000/$50,000. Vicarious liability claims against owners of vehicles rented for less than one year are limited to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident.