Court Applies Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine to Construction Loaders

In a recent appellate decision, the Florida Supreme Court held that construction loaders are considered dangerous instrumentalities as a matter of law. As a result of the court’s opinion, Florida personal injury victims who have been injured by these dangerous machines can pursue a claim for compensation against the owners of construction loaders regardless of whether the owner was negligent.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiff was seriously injured when he was working as an independent contractor for a hauling company. The hauling company had hired the plaintiff to help several employees clear a vacant lot that was full of vegetation and debris.

Evidently, the hauling company leased a large construction loader to help its employees and the plaintiff clear the lot. Apparently, while the lot was being cleared, an employee of the hauling company dropped a stump onto the plaintiff’s hand, requiring the plaintiff’s finger be amputated.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company that leased the construction loader to the hauling company. The plaintiff’s argument was based on a Florida law that allows those who have been injured by a “dangerous instrumentality” to hold the owner of the instrumentality liable for their injuries. Thus, the court was required to determine if the construction loader was a dangerous instrumentality as a matter of law.

Construction Loaders

A construction loader is a large machine used to lift objects into a dumpster-like receptacle that can then be hauled away. These machines can weigh up to 8,000 pounds and can lift several thousand pounds high into the air. While not all loaders have permanently attached wheels, they are gas-powered, and most can be made to be mobile.

The Court’s Decision

The court held that construction loaders are dangerous instrumentalities, and because of that fact, the plaintiff’s case against the owner of the machine should be permitted to proceed towards trial. Importantly, the court considered whether construction loaders as a class of machinery should meet the qualifications for a dangerous instrumentality, and did not limit its analysis to the machine that was involved in this specific accident. The court explained that loaders present a unique danger given their size, capabilities, mobility, and the fact that they are often used close to public streets.

Have You Been Injured in a Construction Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of South Florida construction accident, or any other accident that was caused by dangerous machinery, contact the dedicated South Florida personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank. At Friedman Rodman & Frank, we represent accident victims in all types of Florida personal injury cases, including Florida construction accidents involving dangerous equipment and machinery. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Discusses Caterer’s Liability in Recent Food-Poisoning Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 19, 2018.

Florida Personal Injury Victims and the Importance of Being Careful When Settling a Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 4, 2018.


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