Car Accidents – Understanding the Vicarious Liability of Lent Vehicles Under Florida Law…
Florida car accidents can result in personal injuries and damages. If you are involved in an accident that was caused by the driver of a company vehicle, you may be able to seek monetary recovery from both the negligent driver, as well as the company who employed the driver. Whether you are driving your employer’s vehicle or if you find yourself involved in a car accident with a company vehicle at some point, here’s what you need to know as you brave the roads.
If You’re Driving Your Employer’s Vehicle
The owner of any vehicle being lent to another driver is liable for any associated damages through vicarious liability. If you are driving your employer’s vehicle, your employer will likely be responsible for any physical or monetary damage caused, so long as you were acting within the scope of your employment. By this, we mean that if you, or the driver in a company vehicle, find yourself in a car accident on a personal errand, outside the scope of your obligations and responsibilities pursuant to your job, your employer is not liable.
If You’re Driving Your Own Vehicle to Work
In most cases that you drive your own vehicle for work tasks, your car will not be covered by your employer’s insurance. If you have the opportunity, it might be a good idea to consult with your employer and your insurance company about the risks you undertake using your personal vehicle for work tasks.
Florida Is A “No-Fault” State
Florida law has established a no-fault insurance system that ensures that people who are injured in accidents can recover compensation for their crash-related losses. Consequently, after sustaining injuries in a car accident, the accident victim’s own insurance company will cover his or her medical expenses and lost wages up to $10,000.00, subject to a deductible. This is true regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Likewise, under Florida law, an injured car accident victim cannot file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, unless the accident victim sustained what the law deems a serious or permanent injury.
In most cases, a car accident victim may file a claim directly against the at-fault driver for the accident in one or more of the following instances:
- The accident victim sustained a permanent injury in the accident.
- The accident victim sustained significant or permanent scarring as a result of the accident.
- The accident victim sustained injuries in the accident which resulted in some type of permanent disfigurement.
So, in this case, you wouldn’t be able to seek compensation from the company or the driver unless permanent damage was caused. However, if you did endure permanent damage and injury from a car accident with a company vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation from both the employer as well as the driver.
Potential Parties in Car Accident Cases With Company Vehicles
In Florida, a company or other legal entity, such as a corporation, limited liability company, or partnership can potentially be held liable for the injuries sustained in a serious car accident. If you have sustained injuries in a Florida car accident with a company vehicle, you may be able to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the following parties:
- The at-fault driver who caused the collision– According to the Florida Traffic Code, drivers must operate their motor vehicles in a reasonable, careful, and prudent manner while on the road. This is especially true when drivers are operating a company vehicle while they are on the job. When drivers operate their vehicles in a careless or distracted manner, resulting in an accident and injuries to someone else, the driver may be deemed liable for all related injuries and damages.
- The vehicle driver’s employer – Florida law imposes strict vicarious liability on an individual who lends a motor vehicle to someone else and who, thereafter, causes a collision. Under Florida’s “Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine,” the motor vehicle owner may be deemed liable for the accident simply by owing the at-fault vehicle. The vehicle owner may also be responsible based upon negligent entrustment, negligent supervision, or negligent hiring theories of recovery. These legal theories are sometimes available in cases where the at-fault driver was a known risk or caused a prior motor vehicle accident while operating a company vehicle on company time.
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About Miller Trial Law
The personal injury lawyers at Miller Trial Law work closely with victims and families who have been hurt due to the negligence and neglect of another person or party. If you have been hurt in a car accident, truck accident, slip & fall accident, or due to medical malpractice, or nursing home neglect, you are not alone. We may be able to help you seek damages from negligent parties, negotiate with insurance companies, and more. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you may have the right to seek compensation for your medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, you may only have a limited amount of time to make a claim under the law. Contact Miller Trial Law today and learn how our personal injury lawyers may be able to help you.
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