Florida Court Discusses Negligent Entrustment in Car Accident Cases

In rare cases, if a person is injured in an automobile accident while driving a loaned vehicle, the owner of the vehicle may be held accountable for the damages. In most cases, an owner’s liability will be determined by whether they consented to the borrower’s use of the vehicle and knew or should have known that the borrower would not drive safely. As a result, if a plaintiff cannot show that the owner was aware of the driver’s usage of the car, the claims against the owner may be rejected before the case goes to trial. However, dismissal may be premature if the plaintiff was not given a complete opportunity to develop the evidence against the owner, as demonstrated in a recent Florida decision. If your loved one was killed in a car accident caused by a loaned vehicle, you should speak with an experienced Florida fatal car accident lawyer about your options.

The Case’s Background

The defendant driver, who was seventeen at the time and did not have a driver’s license, is accused of stealing his mother’s sports automobile. He was traveling with the plaintiff’s daughter and another male adolescent on a Florida roadway. He lost control of the vehicle and smashed into a tree while traveling at an extreme rate of speed. The plaintiff’s daughter tragically died as a result of her injuries acquired in the tragedy.

According to reports, the plaintiff filed a complaint against the defendant driver and his mother, stating that the mother allowed the defendant driver to drive her car despite his lack of a license. The plaintiff could not prove her liability, so the defendant mother filed a request for summary judgment. The request was granted by the trial court, and the plaintiff appealed.

Car Accident Cases: Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is an important tool under Florida law that allows the courts to acquire a fair, speedy, and cost-effective conclusion of each matter in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure. It achieves this purpose by deciding whether the evidence on file is adequate to establish a factual dispute that necessitates a trial or hearing. In other words, it’s similar to a motion for a directed verdict filed before a trial.

A request for summary judgment should be examined or granted only after the parties have had a full opportunity to obtain the evidence they would present if the case went to trial. In other words, if discovery is incomplete, the facts are not sufficiently established for the court to determine if genuine factual issues exist. The plaintiff had yet to depose the male passenger due to his lack of availability, and the appellate court remarked that he could potentially have relevant information on the plaintiff’s claims. As a result, it overturned the trial court’s decision.

Speak with an Experienced Florida Lawyer

Unlicensed drivers have the potential to cause catastrophic collisions, and several parties may be held liable for the resulting injuries. If a loved one was killed in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation, and it is prudent to consult an attorney. The experienced Florida car accident lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are well-versed in what it takes to prove liability in car accident cases, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf.  You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 800-283-7442 to set up a meeting.





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