How Family Purpose Doctrine Affects Your Personal Injury Claim
Do you have a teenager or family member in your home that you allow to use your vehicle? You could be held legally responsible for any consequences under the Family Purpose Doctrine in Georgia. If you are a victim of a car accident, this law can help you receive the compensation and justice you deserve. Here is everything you need to know about how family purpose doctrine affects your personal injury claim.
What is Family Purpose Doctrine?
Some circumstances can make it difficult for a victim to recover damages after an accident has occurred. The driver who caused the accident may not be the owner of the vehicle or be too young to be held legally responsible. Georgia law has put in place protection for accident victims under these types of circumstances. The Family Purpose Doctrine in Georgia can hold a family member responsible legally for a personal injury caused by another family member.
Typical cases under the Family Purpose Doctrine involve a teenager using a parent’s vehicle. In this case, the teenager is likely unable to pay compensation for damages, so the accident victim is allowed to sue the vehicle owner. Compensation can include payment for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, vehicle damage and pain and suffering.
Factors in Family Purpose Doctrine
There are certain factors that must be proven under the Family Purpose Doctrine in a personal injury claim. With an accident, the defendant must either own, control or have an interest in the allegedly negligent use of the vehicle with permission from the owner. The negligent driver must be proven to be an immediate family member of the owner of the vehicle and reside in the same house. This could be a sibling, minor child or spouse. The vehicle must be used primarily for family activities like grocery shopping or family outings. If these elements are proven, the vehicle owner can be held liable for personal injuries or wrongful death.
According to Georgia law, you have a legal responsibility to take actions to prevent danger to other drivers. You can be held responsible if you loan your car to someone you know has a bad driving record or is unfit to drive. These unsafe behaviors could be reckless driving or being under the influence of alcohol or other substances. This negligent entrustment can put you at fault for the accident along with or instead of the actual driver at the time the incident occurred.
Legal Defenses to the Family Purpose Doctrine
If your teenager caused an accident, there are legal defenses to the Family Purpose Doctrine that can protect you. You may not be held liable if the child was not living with you when the accident occurred or you do not have legal custody. The teenager can be held legally responsible if the child is over 18 years old and the child’s name is on the title of the vehicle. Parents can also be protected from legal responsibility if it can be proven the parents had no reasonable control over the child’s behavior.
Does the Family Purpose Doctrine Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?
If you have been injured in an accident, filing a personal injury claim through an experienced Georgia attorney can help you recover from your losses. The time to file a claim is limited in Georgia and personal injury claims can be complicated to prove, especially when these cases involve the Family Purpose Doctrine. In order to determine if this law applies to your case, you will need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia. The Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown specializes in personal injury claims for individuals in Atlanta, Georgia. Call to discuss your personal injury claim today.
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