Port Charlotte Accident Attorney: What Is Florida’s “Dangerous Instrumentality” Doctrine?

by Carmen Dellutri on April 18, 2012

Cape Coral car accident attorneyAs we mentioned yesterday, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer is facing a $5 million personal injury lawsuit related to his role in a Port Charlotte accident involving his teammate Matt Bush. Bush was driving Guyer’s Dodge Durango when he struck and injured a motorcyclist last month.

Guyer’s potential liability springs from a legal principle known as the “dangerous instrumentality” doctrine. It imposes strict vicarious liability on the owner of an inherently dangerous tool for any injuries caused by that tool's operation.

In Southern Cotton Oil Co. v. Anderson, 80 Fla. 441, 469 (Fla. 1920), a Florida court extended the doctrine to motor vehicles. That means that owners of motor vehicles may be held accountable for injuries suffered by third parties as the result of the negligent operation of their vehicles, when they are driven by others with their knowledge and consent.

In this case, Guyer maintains that he authorized Bush to use the vehicle to drive to a practice facility earlier in the day, but did not give him permission to drive the vehicle that night. Therefore, the key question in this case may be how far his consent to drive the vehicle extended.

An attorney for the injured victim has also indicated that other parties may be named in the lawsuit. An investigation is underway into the potential liability of the bar that served Bush alcohol, as well as any responsibility the Rays may have had.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If your child or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Port Charlotte DUI accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Fort Myers injury attorneys for a free consultation. 

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