Early this year, the Florida Supreme Court expanded the scope of the dangerous instrumentality law finding that tractors are inherently dangerous and constituted a “dangerous instrumentality.” The law of “dangerous instrumentality” is one that is unique to Florida. This law states that the owner of an inherently dangerous vehicle (i.e. Golf cart, car, tractor, or etc.) is responsible for any injuries sustained due to the use of that vehicle. For example, under this law if a vehicle is operated by another, with the knowledge or consent of the owner, then the owner is liable for any damages that result from the operation of that vehicle. While this law is most commonly used in suits involving car accidents, this law may also encompass objects which are deemed to be “inherently dangerous.”
The Supreme Court came to their decision based on previously decided cases which found that a vehicle was inherently dangerous and constituted a dangerous instrumentality if:
- the automobile has the ability to cause serious injury, or
- The weight, size, and speed of the vehicle would make it peculiarly dangerous when in operation.
This is of particular importance to this area as Orlando is in close proximity to agricultural communities. As a result many nearby residents are likely to come into contact with tractors. This decision protects the interest of drivers for injuries sustained as a result of an accident involving a tractor. If you have been injured in an accident involving a tractor you may be able to recover damages for your injuries.