Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine for Injured Victims in Florida

Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine for Injured Victims in Florida

You may have heard about Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine, also referred to as vicarious liability, and are wondering what it is and if it will negatively impact you should you become injured during a car accident in Florida.

Regardless of whether you were injured while you were driving another person’s car or your accident involved somebody driving a borrowed car, you might still be entitled to receive financial compensation for your accident-related losses.

Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

Dangerous instrumentality is the name given to the law that makes the owner of any characteristically unsafe item liable for any damages or injuries caused by the item. This statutory theory is also called vicarious liability.

For our purposes, the item being discussed is a motor vehicle, like an SUV, pick-up truck, or car. The person driving the car, the owner of the car, and, by association, the car owner’s insurance company is responsible for the non-economic, economic, and punitive damages caused by any malfeasance or negligence on the part of the driver.

The only caveat to this law is that the owner of the vehicle has to have voluntarily given their permission for someone else to be using their vehicle.

I Wasn’t the Driver During My Car’s Accident

If you are involved in an accident while driving somebody else’s car, your injuries along with any other damages are typically covered by the car owner’s insurance policy. Keep in mind that, in Florida, car insurance backs the car first and then the driver.

As long as the owner of the car gave you his or her permission to drive it, you are most likely covered. This does not apply, however, in the event that their auto insurance policy excludes you by name.  

Since Florida follows a no-fault doctrine, anybody involved in a traffic accident must seek financial compensation from the car owner’s personal injury protection insurance coverage first, no matter who was liable for the accident. If your accident-related damages are more than the car owner’s personal injury protection limits, however, you might be able to pursue financial compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Based on the amount of your damages, you might be able to obtain remuneration for your hospital expenses, missing wages, and pain and suffering, to name a few.

Exceptions to Vicarious Liability

If another person got into an accident in your car and the injured party turns to you for their damages, you may be able to challenge the claim, depending on who the driver was. Potential exceptions would include people such as valet parking attendants, car thieves/carjackers, body shop employees, and mechanics.

As with every kind of personal injury case, the endless number of variables makes your claim unique. This is just one of the many reasons why hiring a skilled attorney is beneficial to your Florida personal injury claim. Your attorney will know the most thorough and efficient way of collecting vital evidence that proves you were not at fault for the accident. Establishing this fact is essential to the success of your Tampa personal injury case.

If you have sustained injuries during any kind of accident that was caused by another person’s negligence or carelessness, there is evidence out there that will substantiate your claim. A reputable personal injury attorney from Fulgencio Law will be able to help you. Call us at (813) 463-0123 to schedule your free Tampa personal injury consultation today.

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