Here is another example of how the U.S. is far from having a lock on silly lawsuits. A drunk driving home from a nightclub runs into another drunk walking home. When he gets home he finds the poor guy in the trunk and drags him into the woods where he leaves him with two broken legs. Fortunately, the injured pedestrian manages to crawl from the woods and is found. The drunk driver is charged with and sentenced for attempted murder. (Because he dragged the injured pedestrian into the woods and abandoned him there, and not just because he ran into someone who was walking in the road.) So far, so good. But then the drunk driver’s employer, who owned the car the drunk was driving, sues the hapless drunken walker for damages to the car!
I don’t think this could happen in Florida. Florida law holds that automobiles (and golf carts too) are dangerous instrumentalities. The owner of a dangerous instrumentality is strictly vicariously liable for damages caused by “negligent entrustment” of the vehicle to a driver who causes injuries. Thus the car owner would be just as liable as the drunk driver. Florida law also employs comparative negligence. If more than one party is responsible, then they are each held liable for their percentage of fault. The negligence of the drunken pedestrian walking along the road would be weighed against that of the drunken driver who hit him.
I have to admit there has been at least one case in the U.S. where a driver ran over a family’s dog and then sued them for the damage to his car. However, that guy was not drunk and the dog took off and ran into the street. Florida law makes dog owners strictly liable for damages caused by their pets to people. If there were no personal injuries, the dog owners may not be strictly liable for damages to a car. However, the dog owners could still be held liable for negligence.