Vicarious Liability: How Letting Someone Else Use Your Car Could Expose You to A Lawsuit

Judges gavel on desk with 2 toys cars in accident-Title: Vicarious Liability: How Letting Someone Else Use Your Car Could Expose You to a Lawsuit

There are situations when you have loaned your vehicle to a friend or family member without giving it much thought. No matter how much you trust this person, you could face disastrous repercussions if they get into an accident. It’s important to understand the Vicarious Liability laws in Florida.

Call the Personal Injury Attorneys at Hunter Law (813) 287-2227

Regardless of who is at fault, Florida’s “Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine” stipulates the owner of the vehicle is liable for any and all damage caused by the operator of the vehicle. This legal concept is also known as Vicarious Liability.

Vicarious Liability applies when a third party has the right and obligation to control the activities of a negligent person. Dangerous instrumentality is an object that has the proclivity to cause death while being used.

Vicarious liability laws and the complex issues surrounding them are interesting and unique. 

In the six headings below, we describe some of the fascinating, Florida theories and doctrine of Vicarious Liability :

  • Is Vicarious Liability Neglect?
  • Vicarious Liability and Business
  • Parents and Vicarious Liability
  • Teen Drivers 
  • Final Word

Under the rule, all vehicles are included, not just cars and trucks. Boats, motorcycles, ATVs, and even golf carts are considered dangerous instrumentalities. It is fundamental for vehicle owners and especially parents to know if their insurance covers infrequent permissive use.  

Callout 1- green background- This legal concept is also known as Vicarious Liability

Whether someone borrows your car, or you were involved in an accident with the operator of a borrowed vehicle, call an  Attorney at Hunter Law (813) 287-2227

Is Vicarious Liability Neglect?

Vicarious Liability holds the vehicle owner liable for the permissive user’s failure to safely operate the vehicle. Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality doctrine does not apply if the driver handles the car without express or implied permission. However, the law is well established that if you allow someone to borrow your vehicle it is reasonably foreseeable that they will allow someone else to operate it as well, making you potentially liable for the actions of a third party that you may not even know. 

In Florida, injured parties have the option to bring claims against the owner and driver by using Negligent Entrustment. Depending on the circumstances, vehicle owners may have been negligent by providing transportation to a bad driver.

If you find yourself in any of the circumstances being described, it is vital to speak with an attorney. Before you sign anything let Hunter Law, advise. (813) 287-2227

One of the most infamous incidents on record of Vicarious Liability was the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on March 24, 1989. A series of calamitous events led to 10.8 million gallons of crude oil spilling into the pristine Alaskan seas. Exxon was held accountable for lack of supervision over the captain, crew-member fatigue, and the condition of the radar equipment, among other charges. 

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Hunter Law would welcome a phone call on any vicarious liability case you may have. Our talented attorneys are always looking for profitable representation on both sides.

(813) 287-2227  

Florida is highly protective of the injured and disabled and may allow those parties to sue for damages. They must show the owner knew or should have known the driver posed a risk of harm.

There are lots of great complexities with Florida’s Vicarious Liability Laws; with a heavy slant toward the injured party. Permissions in Vicarious Liability provide an interesting viewpoint.

Hunter Law Group (813) 287-2227

Vicarious Liability and Business

Vicarious Liability is the primary framework at play when mistakes are made by your vendors, employees, or agents. No matter how your business operates, if your employees are negligent, you and your business can be considered liable in the eyes of the law.

Depending on your business, consider some insurance:

  • General Liability
  • Errors and Omissions
  • Workers Compensation

Small companies and employees become friends, then rules become lax. In business, it is always a good idea to cover yourself whenever possible. Attorneys for the victim can make several arguments to hold your business liable.

  • Respondeat Superior
  • Negligent Hiring
  • Lending Negligence
  • Negligent Maintenance

Business owners face a multitude of hazards with vicarious liability. A significant theory that plays an important part, is respondeat superior liability, which can come into play after any unfortunate event, not just auto accidents. 

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Trust your business to Hunter Law (813)287-2227 

Business owners can face claims of negligent hiring and lending of vehicles. Effective defense against negligent hiring and some of the other theories: prove there was nothing wrong with your employee or you had no way of knowing there was something wrong.

Parents and Vicarious Liability

Children and parents face an endless number of conflicts and differences of opinion. Vicarious Liability is perhaps not at the tip of everyone’s tongue. However, the idea of Vicarious Liability is confronted every day.

Parents in Florida will always be held accountable if they are the registered owner of a vehicle and allow their teenager to operate the vehicle. Under the Doctrine of Dangerous Instrumentality, the parents will be liable. The situation gets a little bit less clear when a vehicle is not involved.

What happens if your teenager injures someone else in a fireworks accident? The law will look at the parents’ level of knowledge and control over their child. Could the parent have stopped the dangerous act? Has the child committed similar dangerous acts in the past? These questions need to be investigated in order to determine if a viable claim for Vicarious Liability exists. 

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Let one of the skilled attorneys at Hunter Law lead you or your business through rough times. (813) 287-2227

Parents have passionately defended their rights through top-notch attorneys such as Hunter Law. When Vicarious Liability laws have been introduced, and parents feel these laws interfere with their paternal rights, they strike back. 

Teen Drivers

Is there any more dreaded phrase than “teen driver?” In the past vicarious liability only extended as far as the parents. Now, teens are starting to be held financially accountable for their acts, and teens are receiving no significant help because of their age.

Teen accidents are tough to figure out and convoluted.  Make sure you contact Hunter Law; we will safeguard your rights.

Final Word

Florida has always been a great example of a state that protects its residents in Personal Injury or Family Law.  The attorneys at Hunter Law are deeply ingrained into Tampa and its Society. 

Hunter Law’s attorneys have a vested interest in the success of dynamic Tampa Bay, Florida, and its neighbors. Our offices are located at 5025 W Lemon Street. (813) 287-2227. Give us a call if you ever have a legal concern.