Have you been told that the driver that caused your car accident does not have auto insurance? Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine may find other sources of insurance for your damages. Specifically, liability is placed upon the owner of a motor vehicle who voluntarily entrusts that motor vehicle to an individual whose negligent operation causes damage to another. An owner who gives authority to another to operate the owner’s vehicle, by either express or implied consent, has a duty to ensure that the vehicle is operated safely. In other words, you may be able to look to both the driver of the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle, for insurance coverage. The following is one of many car accident questions asked on avvo.com which attorney Mike Hancock answered in November 2013.
Questions About Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine
Question: My daughter, age 53. is staying with us. She is on Methadone. If anything happened, i.e., car accident, would we be sued as well? Recently she had a doctor’s appointment and was found to have a severe UTI and Strep Throat. Her purpose for the visit was for her sciatica. She was given 4 injections in the sciatic area (1 of which was a numbing agent) I am guessing. He also prescribed Keflex for the UTI as she cannot take another popular medicine for that since she is allergic. While driving she started to feel extremely dizzy and pulled over in a parking lot, turned off the keys and must have fallen asleep. She was awoken by the security guard and taken to the hospital where all normal tests were run. After all was complete she was released to go home.
Mike Hancock’s Answer: It doesn’t matter whether your daughter causes an accident while she is impaired or completely sober. Under Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, the owner of a motor vehicle who gives permission to another to drive their vehicle is legally responsible for any injuries or damages caused by the negligence of the permissive user. So if she were to cause an accident driving your car, you and your daughter would both be named in any lawsuit filed. I recommend that you purchase a sufficient amount of bodily injury liability coverage to protect your assets, and to provide sufficient insurance coverage for the person or people she might injure.
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