After experiencing a car accident in Florida, your first thoughts are likely not focused on pursuing a liability claim (indeed, you may have more immediate pressing concerns). Yet in cases where blatant negligence or incompetence led to your collision, you may have to seek legal action to help cover your accident expenses.
Should you discover that the driver that hit you was not driving their own vehicle at the time, you may reasonably question you can extend liability to whoever entrusted them with a vehicle (especially if the driver had a history of poor or reckless driving).
A legal principle exists known as “negligent entrustment” which allows for the assignment of liability to a vehicle owner who entrusts their car to a driver who subsequently causes a car accident. The main purpose of this doctrine is to prompt pause in vehicle owners before loaning out their cars to just anybody (as a plaintiff may argue that a simple exercise of care would reveal a person’s poor driving tendencies).
The dangerous instrumentality doctrine
So does negligent entrustment apply to car accident cases in Florida? The state has a similar statute in its dangerous instrumentality doctrine. Section 327.32 of the Florida state statutes says that any owner of a vehicle must exercise the highest level of care to prevent those vehicles from injuring others. However, liability under this statute only applies in cases where the owner is not in direct control of the vehicle if the owner is actually in the vehicle when the accident that causes injury occurs. Thus, the only examples where this may apply to your case would be where a parent travels in the vehicle with a teen driver or another person transports the owner as a passenger.