Q: My parents are 89 & 90. My Dad still drives. He should not be driving. What is my liability?
This is a broad question. Please help me understand what risk my siblings and I may have for our father driving. Is there any case law in Oregon setting precedence? In my mind's eye, we have a moral obligation to the public. My questions are: Knowing our Dad should probably not be driving - Can we siblings be held responsible or liable for any accident he may be involved in? Does Oregon have any law regarding this? Is there a case law that would be able to be used to give precedence?
A: If you father does not live in your house, isn't driving your car, and isn't listed on your car insurance, I don't think you have any legal ties to him such that the damages for an accident he causes will come back on you. The indirect financial problem would be that if he causes an accident that results in him getting sued and losing money or property, that may make it so he comes asking you for financial assistance.
Otherwise, there is the problem of him being a danger to others on the road and just as a citizen you may want to protect yourself and others if your father truly can't drive safely. You can contact Oregon DMV and find out how to report a driver that you think can't safely drive. http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/at-risk_voluntary_reporting.aspx There is some type of testing for older drivers to make sure that they are fit to drive. Alternatively if you father has a trusted family doctor, make an appointment to see the doctor with your father and discuss his fitness to drive. Maybe the doctor can convince your father not to drive and then you aren't the bad person in this situation. His doctor may also be required to report him to the DMV: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/pages/at-risk_program_index.aspx
One more thing, it may be negligent to allow your father to drive in a situation where you know he shouldn't be driving and you could have prevented it. For example, you invite him to your house for dinner and he drives over. You notice that he is having coordination problems or other issues yet you do nothing when he goes to leave the house in his car. So for any social or family events that your parents are invited to, insist that they let your pick them up and take them home.
Ultimately your father doesn't want to lose his freedom and independence which is understandable. You can help by researching alternatives that your father and mother can use for transportation that they can afford.
A: My suggestion would be to report your concerns to his doctor. If your doctor thinks he's fine, you've done your bit. If the doctor doesn't he has to report and his report will carry weight. You report your dad and he might take it the wrong way. You don't want him to pass in a wreck, but you don't want him to pass angry at you, either.
Remember though a woman just entered a track and field (masters) event at 100.
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