I am renting a car in Jamaica and plan to buy insurance locally. If someone were to collide into me (not my fault), is the expectation that each person is responsible for repairing their own vehicle or is that at-fault party responsible?

If you have relevant experience, please state this in your response.


Regarding "relevant experience" I have none but the legal system of Jamaica is based on British common-law and assuming you would ask a lawyer for legal advice I instead offer one layperson's understanding, based on UK.

If someone were to collide into me (not my fault), is the expectation that each person is responsible for repairing their own vehicle or is that at-fault party responsible?

That at-fault party is responsible.

They harmed your property and you are therefore entitled to restitution. This would be reimbursement of the cost of repair of the vehicle (in extreme cases, the value of an equivalent replacement vehicle) and usually hire of a substitute vehicle during repairs or the sourcing of a replacement – in the latter case probably only until the culprit agrees your (rented) vehicle is a write-off.

However the above assumes the other party was provably at fault or acknowledges their fault. Standard insurance company advice is never acknowledge responsibility, however much you were to blame, so in practice it is a matter of evidence. A year ago in a head-on collision in a country lane my car was (just) stationary at the time of impact but I did not bother to pursue the matter (my car was a write-off) since only the driver of the van that smashed into me and his passenger witnessed the accident, apart from me. Without the names and addresses of independent witnesses prepared to attend court in your support you are unlikely to receive restitution.

Insurance companies know that there may be scope for disagreement for who was at fault (lawyers make a living out of such disagreements even if they have to create them) and in the UK will often settle "knock-for-knock". That is, assuming both parties are insured, each insurer pays for the damage their own customer suffered. Each insured then loses some or all No Claims Bonus entitlement. For the run-of-the-mill minor shunt this makes so much sense it is likely, in my opinion, to be the practice in Jamaica also. (There is little point in each party routinely committing to perhaps $10,000+ of legal fees on the uncertain outcome of a case over say $1,000 in repair costs – though I have known something of that kind.)

Elsewhere you asked why it seemed that no credit card would insure rental cars in Jamaica and mentioned Drivers in Jamaica are notorious for their decision making and I would not expect the other drivers to be able to pay for damage they would inflict.

If your antagonist has no money and is not insured then responsibility for damages becomes somewhat irrelevant: "You can't get blood out of a stone". Who pays defaults to who has the means to do so.

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    To add a different perspective on UK outcomes - my wife was in the right hand lane on a dual carriage way in slow moving traffic, approaching a two lane roundabout. The right hand lane (inside lane) on the roundabout moved, and so she moved out onto the roundabout and stopped. The driver in the left hand approaching lane drove straight into her about 3 minutes later. No cameras, no witnesses, he failed to stop (traffic started flowing, he drove off), my wife got the number plate, reported it and it was settled entirely in her favour. – Moo Feb 10 '17 at 16:37
  • Also, pnuts, I would suggest that there is a difference here between the responsibility of repair and the responsibility of recompense for that repair. In many cases you will find that your own insurance company will carry out the repair at its own cost, but recoup that cost from the other party - its unusual that the other parties insurance will deal directly with yourself. Its also not recommended that you deal with the other parties insurers directly - they are not there to serve you, after all. – Moo Feb 10 '17 at 16:40
  • UK. Norfolk to be exact. – Moo Feb 10 '17 at 16:52
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    How do you mean? She was in the correct lane, during the approach and on the roundabout, the person in the left hand lane should have remained in the outer lane on the roundabout. Inner and outer here are referenced from the centre of the roundabout. – Moo Feb 10 '17 at 16:56

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