The Family Purpose Doctrine in Georgia concerns a specific situation that may make the head of household liable for the conduct of a spouse or child whether they may be a minor or an adult, during the use of a vehicle. This legal doctrine may be used as an important option during a personal injury claim.
Family Purpose Doctrine and Vehicle Use
Parents may find themselves liable for the conduct of their children while they are driving a vehicle when an injury has occurred. In Georgia, the Family Purpose Doctrine states that if a vehicle was provided to a family member for the comfort, pleasure, convenience, or enjoyment of the family members, a court may rule parent liability with proof the parent knew the specific family member was incompetent to drive or had allowed dangerous driving conduct in the past, or parent liability may also be based on lack of proper training and safety instruction of the driver.
Liability under Family Purpose Doctrine
In order to be held liable under this doctrine, there are four requirements that need to be met. These criteria are:
- The defendant must own or have interest in the vehicle
- The defendant must have made the vehicle available for family use
- The driver must be a member of the defendant’s immediate household, and
- The vehicle must have been driven with the permission of acknowledgement of the defendant
In addition, titled ownership of the family vehicle is not required in Georgia. If the parent or family head of household’s name does not appear on the vehicle title they can still be held liable for the actions of others in the household.
Liability for Personal Injury Damages
Some of the damages that the defendant may be held accountable for include:
- compensatory damages for medical expenses
- property damages
- pain and suffering
- general damages.
Family Purpose Doctrine Attorney
Whether you have a personal injury or are facing legal liability for the actions or conduct of your adult or minor child, it is imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Legal negotiation through the court system is often confusing and complex. Call the office of Attorney Joel Baskin for expert consultation on your situation.