Are Owners Liable for Third Party Damages Caused by Other Indivduals That They Authorized to Use Their Vehicles ?
In Lynch v. Walker, 159 Fla. 188, 31 So. 2d 268, 271 (1947), the Court held that when owners authorize other individuals to use their vehicles, they are liable for the damages that the other authorized drivers negligently cause to third parties. 31 So. 2d at 271.
Likewise, in Susco Car Rental System v. Leonard, 112 So. 2d 832, 835-36 (Fla. 1959) Car Rental, the Court extended the owner-lessor's vicarious liability further to situations where the vehicle was operated by one other than the authorized lessee in violation of the terms of the lease. 112 So. 2d at 835-36; see also Kraemer, 572 So. 2d at 1364-67 (owner of vehicle under long-term lease liable under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine for the negligence of driver of vehicle).
We note, however, that section 324.021(9)(b), Florida Statutes (1997), provides a statutory exception from vicarious liability under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine for owners of motor vehicles leased for one year or longer if there is strict compliance with the express provisions of that statute. See Ady v. American Honda Fin. Corp., 675 So. 2d 577, 580 (Fla. 1996).