Warning from a Car Accident Attorney: Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine

“What happens if I lend my car to somebody, and they get into an accident?”

Video Transcript

Good morning. I’m Marcus Michles, and welcome to this week’s week’s edition of our video blog here at Michles & Booth. We’re going to start a program and a series of frequently asked questions. You’ve seen those on lot of web pages. We’re going to do a video version of that, and I’ll invite you and many of our watchers to submit questions. We’ll determine whether they’re frequently asked or not, but today’s topic I want to talk to you about is the Florida Dangerous Instrumentality Law, and the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine as it’s known answers basically this question, which is “what happens if I lend my car to somebody, and they get into an accident?”. You weren’t driving your car. Maybe you weren’t in the car. Maybe you aren’t even in the state. It doesn’t really matter.

In Florida we’ve established a law, the Florida Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, that says that the, that the vehicle is so inherently dangerous that the owner is equally responsible for the negligence of a driver. Now by the time you get done watching this, you may never lend your car out again, because if that person that you lend the car to, a permissive user, has an accident and hurts someone, you as the owner of the vehicle are every bit as responsible as the driver.

Now let’s flip that around to a happier version. Let’s say you, well maybe not so happy, let’s say you get hurt and the person that’s in car driving the car that hit you doesn’t own the car. Well, you have the opportunity to collect from two independent insurance sources, if they have it, the driver’s insurance and the owners insurance. So if you get into an accident and you exchange information, or the law enforcement officer writes up the ticket and only lists the driver but doesn’t list the owner, assuming they’re different, you may miss out on one of the forms or one of the sources of collection.

So keep this in mind; if you lend your vehicle out, you’re going to be responsible for the negligent driving or the accident that occurs if the person you lent the car to is at fault. Also keep in mind that if you get hit or you get hurt in a car accident, you have to always look and make sure that the owner and the driver are the same; because if they’re not, you have an access to collect from two different sources.

Alright. This dangerous instrumentality doctrine makes you responsible even if you’re not driving that car. Alright…so there it is. You can find this and other frequently asked questions on our video blog. You can find us at michlesbooth.com/blog, and if you’ve got questions that you want to have answered, give us a call. Just let us know, give us the topic and the question, and we’ll try to work into the program next week. Until then, I’m Marcus Michles on behalf of Michles & Booth. Thanks for watching!


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