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Florida Personal Injury

Are You Liable for Another Individual’s Reckless Driving?

In most car accidents, liability falls on one of two people: driver of car A, or driver of car B. It is assumed that either one or both of the driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident, and so a car accident personal injury case is built around the assumption that either driver was wholly or partially responsible for the accident. However, there is something called “vicarious liability,” which ultimately means that an individual may be held liable for a car accident even if that individual was not the one driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Before you go out and loan your vehicle to a friend, family member, child, or employee, make sure you understand how vicarious liability works, and that you are protected in the event that the individual who borrowed your vehicle wrecks it.

When Vicarious Liability Comes Into Play

There are several instances in which the law could assign fault to a non-driver of a motor-vehicle accident. Those instances are as follows:

  • When a child drives their parent’s vehicle: Parents may be held liable for the reckless driving of their child if they allow their child to borrow their car and they wreck it. This is thanks to the negligent entrustment theory, which places the blame squarely on the parent (the entrustor) because they knowingly provided their child (the entrustee) with the vehicle, when the parent was fully aware that their child was inexperienced, incompetent, and reckless behind the wheel.

Furthermore, under the family purpose doctrine, the owner of the vehicle is held liable for any damages caused by the vehicle despite which family member was driving at the time.

Finally, under Florida Statute Section 322.09, the individual who signs a minor’s driver’s license application may be held legally responsible for any negligent driving acts of the minor, including car accidents.

  • When an individual knowingly allows an unfit individual to drive their car: Negligent entrustment can also be applied when an individual knowingly allows an unfit individual to drive their vehicle, and when that unfit individual gets into a car accident. However, in order for an individual to file a personal injury suit against the owner of the vehicle, they must be able to prove that the entrustor was aware or should have been aware of the entrustee’s incompetence behind the wheel.
  • When an employer lets an employee drive a company vehicle: By law, employers are liable for all acts committed by their employees on company time and when the employee is performing work for the employer. Because of this law, should an employee get into a car accident while driving the company or employer’s vehicle, the employer may be held responsible for damages accrued.

Consult a Miami Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident and you are unsure who is liable for the damages, consult the Miami personal injury lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm. We can help you prove liability in the event of a car accident or, if your car was the responsible vehicle, help you take steps to reduce the amount of liability you receive. To schedule a private consultation today, contact our personal injury law firm at 1-888-LPENDAS or online. We also serve clients in the West Palm Beach, Tampa, Fort Myers, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale & Jacksonville areas.

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