I loaned my car to a friend who was involved in a Florida car accident. Am I liable if my friend was at-fault?
In Florida you are under something called “The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine”, you are vicariously liable for the negligence of someone who’s driving your car. The reader’s digest version to that is yes, if you lend your car to someone else you are legally responsible for their negligence.
When a Private Owner Lends Out a Car
Cars are inherently dangerous objects that will always present a risk to drivers, passengers and other vehicles. Because of this danger, Florida has a rule about which party is liable in car accidents, known as the dangerous instrumentality doctrine. This doctrine says that in the event that someone voluntarily lends their car to another person, and this person causes a car accident due to negligence, the owner of the vehicle, not the driver, can be held legally responsible. This responsibility is transferred to the owner because the owner was negligent in giving permission to an irresponsible individual. The permission to operate the car may be express or implied, and written consent is not required. In addition, parents of teenage drivers expressly assume legal responsibility for the negligent acts of their children, and are held equally liable for any damages or injury that arises out of such negligence.