Getting into an Accident While Driving Another’s Car
There are many reasons why a person might be driving someone else’s car. Perhaps they don’t own a vehicle or their vehicle is at the mechanic for repairs. They might also use a family member or friend’s car. In the state of Florida, if the driver borrowing a car is a legal resident, and the owner has auto insurance and a license, it’s fine as long as the borrowing driver is legally allowed to drive.
However, there are several issues that arise if the person borrowing the car gets into an accident. Any number of scenarios that could be possible, such as property damage, injuries or even fatalities. It’s important to know what happens in such a situation.
Who is liable for the accident?
If a person allows someone else to drive their car, they still have to take responsibility for anything that might happen. The owner is liable for any accidents another person causes, whether there is minor damage to someone else’s property or someone ends up injured. The law states that the vehicle’s owner is responsible for making restitutions.
Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine
In the state of Florida, if a person driving a borrowed car without their own insurance causes an accident, the victim wouldn’t have a way of recovering compensation from that individual. As a result, the car’s actual owner, who is required to have car insurance, would be responsible for compensating the victim for their medical expenses and other damages, such as lost wages and property damage.
Learn more about Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine and financial responsibility here, and read a case involving the Doctrine here.
Vicarious liability refers to the responsibility a vehicle owner has for controlling their vehicle. The owner decides where and when to drive it, and chooses to allow someone else to drive it. As a result, if they give their car keys to another person, they are responsible for whatever happens while that other person is driving it.
Exceptions to Vicarious Liability
There are, but the burden of proof can be complicated. An example is when an owner sells their car to someone else who then has an accident. If the seller can prove that they have not yet transferred the title, there may be an exception.
If you’re not sure, it’s best to contact a lawyer who resolves car accidents and related matters. Most offer free initial consultations, so you can figure out what needs to happen next. An experienced lawyer will know these laws inside and out and be able to tell you what kinds of damages you may be responsible for if you were at fault for an accident.
Orlando’s Car Accident Lawyers
If you need help after a car accident, The Umansky Law Firm is ready to help. With over 100 years of combined experience in the Orlando area, we’re ready to help. Call us today for a free consultation, or use our online contact form. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t pay a fee until we win your case.