Recently, the state’s supreme court issued a written opinion in a Florida personal injury case discussing an interesting aspect of Florida law that allows for an accident victim to hold the owners of dangerous instrumentalities liable for their injuries under certain circumstances. This application of the vicarious liability doctrine is somewhat unique to Florida and is important for Florida injury victims to understand, as it may provide an additional means of recovery.
Vicarious Liability and Dangerous Instrumentalities
Under Florida law, the owners of dangerous instrumentalities can be held vicariously liable for any injuries that are caused by the instrumentality regardless of another’s fault in bringing about the accident. Courts consider several factors when determining if something is a dangerous instrumentality, including:
- whether the instrumentality is a motor vehicle;
- whether the instrumentality is used near the public;
- whether the dangers presented by the instrumentality are unique; and
- how the legislature has chosen to regulate the instrumentality.