In referencing an automobile collision that occurred in May of 1995, FindLaw discusses elements of the Family Purpose Doctrine and the idea of “vicarious liability.” In essence, if the owner of an automobile who permits members of his or her household to drive it for their own pleasure or convenience, this is regarded as making such a family purpose his or her “business.” Similarly, an employer might authorize an employee to use a company-owned vehicle.
In regards to the accident in 1995, a couple sued a father and son for injuries sustained by the wife when the truck that the son was driving collided with their car. The husband and wife claimed negligence. However, because the boy’s father owned the truck, the couple claimed that he should be liable for his son’s negligence under the umbrella of Family Purpose Doctrine.
With this in mind, there are four prerequisites that must be met before the doctrine can be issued to impose vicarious liability. First, the defendant must own or have interest in or control over the vehicle. Second, the defendant must have made the automobile available for family use. The driver must be a member of the defendant’s immediate household. Finally, the vehicle must have been driven with the permission or acquiescence of the defendant.
In this particular case, the third prerequisite was under question, because the son was not a member of the father’s immediate household at the time of the collision. As such, the defendant felt he was entitled to summary judgment. Consequently, the trial court granted in favor of the defendant.
Upon reviewing a case like this one and the complexities involved in Family Purpose Doctrine, it’s important to understand that every case is different. Furthermore, when it comes to the issue of vicarious liability, individuals need the assistance of a qualified attorney.
M. Qader A. Baig & Associates has handled auto accident lawsuits involving claims against a driver’s parents under the Family Purpose Doctrine. We understand the basis and unique elements of this doctrine, and are available to provide assistance and answer your questions. For a free consultation, call M. Qader A. Baig & Associates today.