Catherine Moussa Authors Article in Daily Business Review

Golf Carts and the Graves Amendment: Vicarious Liability and Immunity Off the Green
Daily Business Review
February 28, 2024

In an article published February 28, 2024 in’s Daily Business Review, Catherine Moussa discusses Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, the federal Graves Amendment, and golf carts. While not always the first thought when it comes to vehicle liability, in Florida, golf carts are often found off the course as much as they are on the fairway.

“The Graves Amendment, which is a federal statute, is intended to eliminate the vicarious liability previously imposed by state laws, like Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine. This amendment applies to vehicle owners or lessors who are engaged in the business of renting or leasing motor vehicles—and who are not otherwise negligent. In 2011, the Florida Supreme Court in Vargas v. Enterprise Leasing held that the Graves Amendment preempted existing Florida law and controlled relevant situations. This liability exemption applies to cars, trucks, semi-tractors, and trailers,” says Moussa. “But what about golf carts? Driven throughout Florida, these breezy vehicles are often rented to patrons at events or leased to those who use them on a more consistent basis. Golf carts are also often involved in accidents with other cars, trucks, and pedestrians, both on public and private streets. The Florida Supreme Court has specifically held that golf carts are “clearly motor vehicles” subject to the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine, and courts have consistently imposed that vicarious liability on cart owners.”

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