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Where does liability fall when an elderly parent gets in an accident? P.1

Caring and looking after an aging parent is a challenge in a variety of ways. One of the common issues adult children face is keeping an elderly parent from getting behind the wheel. Ideally, of course, adult children are able to talk things out with the parent and help them to realize that failing eyesight, slower reactions, or other health conditions make it unsafe for them to drive.

As a recent article points out, the costs of driving into one’s older years may end up becoming an argument against driving, particularly for an elderly parent who has been involved in multiple accidents. The reality, though, is that many elderly people will not willingly give up their driving privileges. Some may do so if a doctor or caretaker advises them to do so.

Short of stealing a parent’s keys and taking away their vehicle, there often isn’t a lot adult children can do to prevent a elderly parent from driving beyond when can safely do so. When an elderly parent continues to drive beyond the time the family considers safe, additional measures may be taken by an adult child who has power of attorney. Even that may not completely prevent the parent from getting behind the wheel, though.

The question many adult children find themselves asking in light of such circumstances is: can I be held liable for accidents caused by an aging parent who refuses to quit driving? In our next post, we’ll take a brief look at this question and suggest some possible steps adult children can take to protect themselves

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