Liability for a Parent with Alzheimers Driving the Family Vehicle and Causing an Accident

When a person has a family member going through Alzheimer’s that drivers, he or she can face liability when an accident occurs through negligence when he or she owns the vehicle and lets this person drive. Liability for the damages incurred can hold the owner of the car accountable for all necessary and relevant compensation involving the accident and injuries.

Negligence with the Accident

Many personal injuries require proof that negligence occurred. If the child of a parent with Alzheimer’s knows that the parent will take the car or lets him or her drive off with the vehicle, he or she may become responsible for damages incurred because of negligence in the incident. The burden of proof does lie with the plaintiff injured during the accident, but the child may still face criminal charges for the harm caused to another person. Negligence and intent to harm others can hold this person accountable when there is evidence to help convince the judge or jury the child with a parent with this condition.

Diagnosis and Driving

While concerns with driving and cases of mental conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s may limit the driving ability of the person, it does not necessarily lead to the complete cutoff of operating a car. The diagnosis does not require to stop a person with the condition to remain out of the driver’s seat immediately. The condition itself is often progressive and may not incur memory loss or the impairment of mental cognitive skills at the beginning. Other symptoms may not even appear until months or years after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s Symptoms

It is important for family members that are watching or overseeing the person with the condition to know what symptoms to look for before taking away certain privileges such as driving. These include memory loss, visual and spatial disorientation and a decrease with cognitive functions that will only get worse over time as the issue progresses. As these symptoms increase in severity, the driving skills will decrease significantly. This would also affect the possibility of a collision. If the family members are aware of these symptoms, they may become liable for any damages incurred because of negligence.

Knowing When to Stop

While Alzheimer’s and dementia are both conditions that will vary based on the individual, there are certain points when the family members should recognize when to stop the parent from taking to the roads. Anyone that is in the initial stages of these conditions should have driving skills first evaluated and then assess mental impairment. Anyone that progresses past the initial first stage and enters moderate to severe Alzheimer’s should no longer drive. Any family members that does not stop this person could become the liable party when paying back compensation to the injured party.

Responsibility of the Caregiver

If the children of a parent with Alzheimer’s know that the individual is progressing through the disease quickly, it is their responsibility to remove the adult from the roads. There are certain situations where these individuals bear little or no liability in an accident and they usually involve the parent living in a facility or when there is a caregiver other than the children that takes on these responsibilities. Anyone involved in the person’s life may become partially liable if they know that he or she is driving with Alzheimer’s. This can hold the other person accountable for damages if the parent gets into an accident.

Signs to Look for in the Alzheimer’s Parent

When the children need to check if the parent is exhibiting signs of the disease progressing and affecting his or her cognitive and motor skills, it is crucial to research these concerns. However, the individual is no longer safe on the roads when losing coordination, has difficulty judging distances and spaces and becomes disoriented when in a familiar place. Driving requires skill and multiple tasks, and when there is a decline in this, the individual should refrain from driving. Memory loss, a lack of alertness and confusion are important factors that show the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Legal Support when the Alzheimer’s Parent Causes an Accident

When the parent with Alzheimer’s gets into an accident, he or she could expose their own child to civil liability or criminal charges. The children of this person will need a lawyer to defend against various legal problems that could occur and to protect the rights of both the aging parent and the adult child.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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