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A person with dementia isn't let off the hook if they cause a car wreck. So if you're in charge of a cognitively impaired person (aka dementia) then you best take those keys away or disable the car they drive if you have to.
This is a serious matter and I will tell you something as a friend. Sometimes what the insurance offers an injured party isn't enough and they can go after assets like bank accounts, real estate, inheritances, have wages garnished, etc...
Believe me, it would make no difference to me whether the person that hit me was drunk, high, underage, or has dementia. If the insurance payment was not satisfactory to me as an injured party I would pursue you personally for damages.
Take her car keys away. It would be in everyone's best interests for you to.
Get them the help they need; it is not acceptable to put them and others at risk. If you ever have a question about liability, ask yourself, could you live knowing that you (or someone else) injured someone because you wanted to avoid any conflict?
It's simply prudent to understand the extent of your liability as a caregiver and have a plan of action in case you get sued or arrested for the action of the person you're liable for. And it's best to make such plans when you're not under duress. Having such thoughts doesn't mean a person cares any less. Perhaps it means they care more.
I am am looking back on my dad’s situation with my own mother as she began to slip. He did not know what to do. He was a strong, old-school man. His kids—me included—did not understand what was happening to my mom, and our off-the-cuff attempts at “help” were, I understand now, pretty worthless. He was scared, trying to protect my mom and her dignity, and the help he did accept from doctors and home therapists went south fast (wrong diagnoses, theft, and generally making things worse than they already were).
If my dad had reached out to a forum like this and gotten the answers I am reading here he would have been gone in a heartbeat.
The tone of, “well if she is causing damage, you must be doing a bad job” is pretty out of touch and unrealistic. Guess what? Problems will happen with a spouse with dementia. When they do, we evaluate, make changes, and try again.
OP, I wish you well with your wife. Try to ignore the harsh posts—I just skip them—and listen to the many kind and wise voices here who have already walked the path you are on. Those are the ones with compassion. They have been an incalculable help to me.
If she somehow gets in an accident, ALZ or not she is liable for any damages. If the car is in ur name, you are liable.
I think caring for your wife is getting too much for you. May be time to place her. See an elder lawyer to see how your assets can be split. Her split going for her care and when almost gone, u apply for Medicaid.
"Is a power of attorney responsible for car accident injuries? If you hold a valid power of attorney or have been appointed the legal guardian for a senior, you may have additional responsibilities as outlined in the document.
Being named agent under a power of attorney does not automatically create liability, but once you accept the responsibilities and begin acting as your elderly parent’s agent, you may assume certain liabilities if you are not careful."
It all differs by state and a PoA or guardian should consult with a certified elder law attorney for the state in which the PoA is active to get a better answer to this question.
You speak the truth, my friend. Dementia does not cancel out liability.
If the doctors, who are mandated reporters, don't inform the *DMV and the DMV tests them saying they are OK, what can you do. You knowing that this person is not safe driving need to take action. Disable the car. Have it towed away and stored someplace. You just keep telling the person its in for repairs, repairs taking longer than usual, you called and left a message. You hide the keys.
*People in the early stages of Dementia can "showtime". Meaning they can fake it for a period of time. Anytime you want a Dementia person test, you take them as late as possible when "sundowning" is most likely to occur. Can't fake it then.
In that particular case whomever is injured goes to the insurance company of the driver at fault just exactly as he or she would with an unimpaired driver.
That is to say if you are the injured party it is in the hands of their insurance. If they have none it is in the hands of YOUR insurance as the injured party with uninsured driver. You have the same rights you would have against a normal distracted driver who caused an accident, a drunk person who caused an accident, a mentally impaired person who caused an accident. That is to say if you are injured you can personally sue this person or his/her estate for injuries caused to yourself.
In general, if you are speaking of a tenant, that tenant is responsible for damages to a unit. Whether impaired or not. In the case of someone who is incompetent you should contact his or her POA. You can still sue him or her or their estate.
More information would surely get you better answers. If you have suffered personal or property damage do consider consulting an attorney.
If you are concerned with the punishment of an impaired driver? That is in the hands of the law system, Police, the DMV, etc.
Or worse what if she hurts or kills somebody?
I am just assuming you meant her driving and subsequent liability, which could be staggering.
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