Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys / Blog / Car Accidents / Could I Be Held Liable For Someone Else’s Accident?

Could I Be Held Liable For Someone Else’s Accident?


For some people, it is common practice to lend their car to a friend or family member. Normally, this practice leads to no harm – but in the rare situations where an accident may occur, both you and the person who was driving your vehicle may wind up on the proverbial hook for damages, even if you were nowhere near the scene of the accident. A knowledgeable attorney can help lay out your options in this scenario.

‘Inherently Dangerous Objects’

Florida law observes what is known as the dangerous instrumentality doctrine, which applies to many different things, though specifically motor vehicles. The doctrine holds that the owner of any object which is ‘inherently dangerous’ can be held liable if that object – like a car or truck – is not used responsibly. This means that if you lend your vehicle to another person, and that person negligently causes harm to someone else, you are implied to have been negligent in not preventing that harm.

There are exceptions to this doctrine – for example, if someone uses your vehicle without permission, you cannot be sued. In addition, if you only hold title to a vehicle, and neither use nor maintain it, you will be excluded from potential liability. This has been codified as the Graves Amendment, used to indemnify car rental agencies. However, most scenarios place liability for an auto accident squarely on both the shoulders of the driver and the owner.

Why Sue Me? 

The doctrine under which the owner of a vehicle can be sued is known as vicarious liability. In general, this means that a person or entity is liable for the deeds of their agents, though the ‘deeds’ in question must fit certain specific criteria. A sub-theory of sorts that is often used as basis for personal injury lawsuits is known as negligent entrustment; if you, the owner, either knew or should have known that the driver posed a risk to others on the road, you can be deemed negligent for lending your vehicle anyway.

One very common scenario where this is seen is in cases where teenagers cause accidents while driving their parents’ vehicles. There may be vanishingly rare exceptions to the rule, but in general, a parent will always be held liable for the actions of their child in these cases, which can lead to an expensive jury award if the teenager is found liable. While this may not be the fact pattern in your case, lessons may still be learned from this type of case.

Call An Orlando Car Accident Attorney

Being involved in an auto accident yourself can be a difficult time in your life; being involved in an auto accident while not even in the car can be completely frightening. An Orlando car accident attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help guide you through the legal process. Contact our office today for a free consultation.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn