Owners of Farm Tractors Liable in Accident Cases

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The FloridaSupreme Court has clarified a point of tort law unique to the state by ruling that a farm tractor is a “dangerous instrumentality.”

The court’s 5-2 ruling on Thursday means that the owner of a farm tractor can be sued for damages when someone else drives the tractor and injures a third person.

Only Floridahas the “dangerous instrumentality” legal doctrine. It usually applies when someone other than the owner of an automobile is driving and that driver accidentally injures another in a wreck.

Chief Justice Charles T. Canady and Justice Ricky Polston dissented. They say the majority decision wrongly expands the law. They noted that golf carts and forklifts have also been found to be dangerous instrumentalities.

The case is Rippy v. Shepard, No. SC09-1677.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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