Detailing the dangerous instrumentality doctrine

You know that you assume some degree of risk every time you choose to take to Port St. Lucie’s roads in your vehicle. Yet even so, you likely feel secure while driving with the assumption that other drivers are just as responsible as you are. It is for this reason why being involved in an accident caused by another’s blatant negligence is so frustrating. Many of those who have come to us here at the Messer & Messer Law Offices have had such frustrations even more compounded when they learn that the reckless drivers who caused their accidents were driving someone else’s vehicle. If this describes the circumstances of your accident, you might share the same question: Is it possible to hold the vehicle owner liable?

It is indeed, thanks to the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. Florida state court rulings have upheld that the owner of a dangerous instrumentality (in this case, a vehicle) is liable for the negligent use of that instrumentality when they allow another access to it. In such a situation, you can assign liability to the vehicle owner even if they were not present when the accident occurred.

The purpose of this concept is to prompt vehicle owners to think twice about who they are loaning their cars, trucks or SUVs to. In this reasoning, one of the exceptions to the application of this doctrine is revealed. The vehicle owner has to have known (or should have known) that the person they loaned the vehicle to was indeed a poor or irresponsible driver. Thus, if the person that hit you was using a vehicle without the owner’s permission, the dangerous instrumentality doctrine would not apply.

You can learn more about assigning liability for car accidents by continuing to browse through our site.