When a friend casually asks, “Hey, can I borrow your car?” you may not think twice about it before handing over your keys. However, before you loan your car out to a friend, roommate, or family member, you need to understand what insurance coverages you have and who could be held liable if your vehicle is in an accident.
“Dangerous instrumentality doctrine” exists under Florida law to help protect individuals who are hurt in auto crashes caused by negligent drivers who do not have proper insurance coverage. In the state of Florida, if your vehicle is involved in an accident, even though you may not have been driving or even near the vehicle at the time of the crash, you could be held liable for damages due to the fact that you are the owner of the vehicle.
Many car insurance policies follow the vehicle, not the driver. If you loan out your car and that car is involved in a collision, the primary coverage would first be your car insurance; the driver’s insurance could later act as secondary insurance.
You could have a legal duty and be held liable for the damages of those hurt in an accident if you gave permissive use for someone to borrow your vehicle. Depending on the particular circumstances, you may not be held liable if your vehicle was used without your permission. If you allow an intoxicated or impaired driver or an unlicensed driver to operate your vehicle, any damages they cause behind the wheel could then become your problem.
Accidents can happen at any time to anyone. Think twice before you hand your keys over to someone else. If you do feel the need to loan out your vehicle make sure they are trustworthy.
Auto collision laws in Florida can be very complex and complicated. If you have been involved in an accident and have suffered an injury, you should at least speak with an experienced trial auto accident lawyer to better understand your rights and options. At Burnetti, P.A. we offer a free case review and are ready and willing to help you in your time of need.