Dangerous Instrumentality Rule: ATV

Salsbury v. Kapka, ___ So. 3d ___, 35 Fla. L. Weekly D1870 (Fla. 4th DCA 8/18/10)

The appellate court reversed a summary judgment ruling that an ATV (all terrain vehicle) was not a dangerous instrumentality.  A determination of this kind must be made by evaluating (1) whether the instrumentality in question fits the statutory definition of a motor vehicle, (2) the extent to which the instrumentality is regulated by statute, and (3) the factual record on the issue whether the instrumentality is dangerous in its normal operation.  In the present case, the trial court did not evaluate any of these factors.  Although the appellate court could determine the first two factors on its own, the appellate court could not decide whether an ATV is a dangerous instrumentality because of the absence of a record containing “specific facts regarding the inherent danger of ATVs . . . .”