Family Purpose Doctrine
Young drivers can pose unique difficulties in an automobile accident—they are more inexperienced than adult drivers, and often do not have many assets from which you can recover if the cost of your injuries require you to file a personal injury suit. This does not leave you out of options, though—the family purpose doctrine may allow you to recover from a young driver’s parents for your injuries.
What is the Family Purpose Doctrine?
Generally, a parent cannot be held liable for injuries caused by their children. In South Carolina, however, a parent can be held liable for injuries and damages that a person suffered as a result of a child’s negligent driving. Thus, under the family purpose doctrine, a person who is injured in a car accident caused by a minor can sometimes look to the child’s parent to recover for injuries that the child caused.
The family purpose doctrine states that a parent who provides an automobile for the use of the entire family can be held liable if another family member causes an accident while using the car. This type of responsibility for another person’s accidents is a form of “vicarious liability” where, similar to an employer/employee relationship, a person who did not directly cause an injury can nevertheless become liable for injuries that another person caused because of his relationship with the person who caused the injury.
The family purpose doctrine can be extremely useful if you have been injured by a young driver, as the driver who caused your injuries may not have the financial ability to pay for the injuries that he or she caused you to suffer. A parent, on the other hand, often has more assets and income to compensate for any severe physical injuries that you suffered during your accident.
It is important to note that the family purpose doctrine does not apply solely to minor children—a person who provides a vehicle for the general use of his or her family can be held liable for injuries caused by any family member in the household, regardless of age.
Let the Lovely Law Firm Help You Today!02
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, your main focus should be on healing to the best of your ability. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Lovely Law Firm are here to help you fight your case so you don’t have to. If you have been injured by a young driver and are worried about how to pay for your injuries, we are happy to help. To schedule a free case evaluation and have an attorney discuss your claim with you, call 843-839-4111 today.