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Substitute House Bill No. 6546

Public Act No. 03-250

AN ACT CONCERNING VICARIOUS LIABILITY FOR PERSONS RENTING OR LEASING CERTAIN MOTOR VEHICLES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 14-154a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to causes of action accruing on or after said date):

(a) Any person renting or leasing to another any motor vehicle owned by him shall be liable for any damage to any person or property caused by the operation of such motor vehicle while so rented or leased, to the same extent as the operator would have been liable if he had also been the owner.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to:

(1) Any person, with respect to the person's lease to another of a private passenger motor vehicle, if the total lease term is for one year or more and if, at the time damages are incurred, the leased vehicle is insured for bodily injury liability in amounts of not less than one hundred thousand dollars per person and three hundred thousand dollars per occurrence and the vehicle is not subject to subdivision (2) of this subsection. As used in this section, "private passenger motor vehicle" means a: (A) Private passenger type automobile; (B) station-wagon-type automobile; (C) camper-type motor vehicle; (D) truck-type motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than ten thousand pounds, registered as a passenger motor vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, or as a passenger and commercial motor vehicle, as defined in said section, or used for farming purposes; or (E) a vehicle with a commercial registration, as defined in subdivision (12) of said section. Private passenger motor vehicle does not include a motorcycle or motor vehicle used as a public or livery conveyance.

(2) Any person, with respect to the person's lease to another of a truck, tractor trailer or tractor-trailer unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of ten thousand pounds or more if the total lease term is for one year or more, or the applicable contract term is one year or more, and if, at the time damages are incurred, the loss or claim is insured by any combination of coverage through an insurer, as defined in section 38a-363, in an amount of not less than two million dollars.

Sec. 2. Section 14-295 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to causes of action accruing on or after said date):

In any civil action to recover damages resulting from personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property, the trier of fact may award double or treble damages if the injured party has specifically pleaded that another party has deliberately or with reckless disregard operated a motor vehicle in violation of section 14-218a, 14-219, 14-222, 14-227a, 14-230, 14-234, 14-237, 14-239 or 14-240a, and that such violation was a substantial factor in causing such injury, death or damage to property. The owner of a rental or leased motor vehicle shall not be responsible for such damages unless the damages arose from such owner's operation of the motor vehicle.

Approved July 9, 2003