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WHO TAKES RESPONSIBILITY IN FLORIDA WHEN A STOLEN OR BORROWED CAR IS USED TO CAUSE AN ACCIDENT?

In many car accident cases in Florida, there are quite a handful of parties that can actually be held accountable when a victim is injured. For instance, if an accident is caused by an employee while on duty, both the employer and the employee might often be mentioned in subsequent personal injury suits in Florida. Vicarious Liability is known as the legitimate doctrine that permits such claims against the third party. A personal injury attorney in Florida can offer more information about this doctrine.

As a general rule, under the vicarious liability theory, when an accident is caused by someone while using a car that doesn’t belong to him/her if there are any injuries sustained by the victim, both the owner of the vehicle and the driver might be held responsible. The standing of this rule is true to the point that permission was granted to the driver to use the car, and the permission given by the owner of the car wasn’t exceeded during the car’s use.

A recent court case in Florida that involves a car accident which the driver that caused the accident was driving someone’s car without taking permission from the person best illustrates vicarious liability outer bounds.

The Case’s Facts

A motorist hit the plaintiff when he was riding his motorcycle. The car involved in the accident was a property of a car rental agency, and the woman they rented this car to wasn’t the one involved in that accident. There were contradicting evidence on how the driver got the car keys. The driver was living with the lady the car was rented to, and the driver said he got the key from the counter of the kitchen. However, the lady said the keys were kept in her room that was locked, and she never permitted him to make use of the car.

The plaintiff’s personal injury attorney in Florida did file against the driver a, and also the car rental agency and as well as the lady they rented out the car to. The case went on to trial, and the lady the car was rented to petitioned the court successfully to add special orders to the jury concerning implied consent and vicarious liability. The court said to the jury that the lady could only be found liable if the use of the car by the driver is within the acknowledgment of an implied consent that the driver needed to make use of the car.

The jury stated the driver wasn’t permitted to make use of the car and laid all the accident’s fault on the driver. The plaintiff appealed because two from the three defendants that were named were not found liable.

On appeal, the court said that the inclusion of the jury’s instruction to the lower court is proper. The court went further to explain that in the vicarious liability theory, without the owner of a vehicle giving consent to a driver to use their car, they can’t be held liable. Since there was evidence to prove that the lady did not give her consent to the driver to use the car, the court concluded that the instruction to the jury was appropriate.

The court also acknowledged further evidence to prove that the car keys were taken off the counter of the kitchen or without the woman’s permission. Nevertheless, on appeal, the court actually was concerned whether there really was evidence to assist the instruction of the jury, instead of checking if there is contrary evidence. Despite the fact, some evidence has proven that the keys were collected by the driver without permission are not enough reason to grant the instruction of the jury.

Have You Ever Been Injured in an Auto Accident in Florida?

If your loved one or you have of recent been an injured victim in a car accident in Florida, monetary compensation may be your entitlement. The skilled personal injury attorney in Florida can help you.


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