If my parent with dementia should get seriously injured or worse hit by a car and killed, would my husband, the POA, be liable? - AgingCare.com

If my parent with dementia should get seriously injured or worse hit by a car and killed, would my husband, the POA, be liable?


He is at a stage where he is trying to escape and is now falling and getting hurt. Police have picked him up several times and brought him home - so this has been documented. If he should get seriously injured or worse hit by a car and killed, would my husband, the POA, be liable? The parents should be in a care facility, not safe for them to be in their home alone but I have no authority.

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For what its worth I would address the escaping. There are loads of things on the market today that MAY (and I must stress may not will) help. There are pressure pads that are under the doormat that when he stands on it will speak to him (of course whether he pays any attention is a different matter). You can record the message or perhaps someone to whom he does pay attention could record it.(my mother wouldn't give a hoot what I said but if a man says it then it is a different matter)

Failing that you can now get beams that when he walks through will trigger an alarm again you can record a message.

You can get a GPS tracker so that if he does get out he is very findable and very quickly findable. My daughter works for the police and just before Xmas they found a woman who had escaped from a care home. Now bearing in mind this woman walks with a frame AND the frame was still in the home, she was found 3 miles away - no-one knows how she got that far but the police didn't think she had an issue with mobility - they knew she had dementia - the nightie and dressing gown was a big giveaway. She was very poorly because she had got cold but had she had a tracker they could have picked her up in a matter of minutes.

With door alarms you can get extra long distance ones, so that if a neighbour is keeping an eye for example they will be alerted - I think top range is about 3/4 mile

A huge stop sign on the door might help - you can get specialist guardian door locks but not for an external door - anything that totally prevents the person's egress is a fire hazard, what you have to do is minimise the risk. Once they are out of the house though you can prevent them going out of the gate because the fire risk is diminished.

POA's duty of care extends to health decisions or finance decisions or both but since they can be rescinded at any time I doubt whether a charge would stick. However the duty of care that we all have as citizens makes it appropriate to talk to people and let them know what is going on and ask for help for loved ones.
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I believe this original poster said that FIL was wandering and getting picked up by the police. He wasn't driving, but walking. However, a confused and disoriented person can wander into traffic and cause an accident. It could cause someone to hit him or hit another car attempting to avoid hitting him. Needless to say, the wandering is a danger. It's very risky and I would think that a family member would do something to protect his life, whether it's notifying his doctor of the wandering or notifying adult protective services.

When my cousin began wander, her doctor ordered Secure Memory Care immediately. As her POA, I was relieved and promptly had her transferred there.
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You gave the impression it was your father and he was driving, sorry about this.

All the same, you need to persuade your husband to check out different memory care facilities.

Put your father in laws safety first. Check out the medical insurance and see what it covers.

The question you have to ask is, if your capacity to assess risks and safety was gone; would you prefer to be at continuous risk like being run over, or would you prefer to be somewhere safe.
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Oh, I totally had mis-read this. Your father is wandering, not driving.....wow. I still don't think POA is responsible. People are going to "escape" all the time, how could a POA be insured that his loved one is really where they should be?
We have a Memory care facility in our neighborhood. Probably once a week, some resident sneaks out and this staff is really sharp and on task--the wanderers "sneak into" a group of people who go there to sing to them, and pow, you have a runner. There's one gent who escapes, walks about 100 yards and back and comes back to his room. He just needs to be free, I guess, but even though he IS wearing a "monitor" it cannot be heard over the sound of the doorbell (alarm) going off as we come and go.
I'd hate to be his POA.
Probably differs from state to state.
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You are liable. Because it is our responsibility as drivers and POA's to inform the Motor Vehicle Department, of any medical changes that would impair the ability to drive safely. As well as this, you would not let a child drive. Being a POA you are as responsible as you would be letting a child drive.

As an individual you are responsible for yourself driving, and thus liable if something happens. If you are a POA, you have vicarious liability.

As far as drama removing the keys, ring the police and show your POA documentation and why you have POA (i.e. parents dementia).  They will assist you in removing the keys with no drama.  Report your parents illness to the Motor Vehicle Department, so their driving licence is revoked.

Do you want to be responsible for someone being killed with the car?
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No, the POA is not responsible. If dad has a valid driver's license, you cannot stop them from driving. Not w/o drama.
Mother FINALLY stopped when she had her hip replaced and required the use of a walker, 24/7. Brother made her show him how she would maneuver that and herself into the car. She couldn't even begin to do it, so the car keys were taken and she figured out other transportation. At first she was beyond furious, as I am sure anyone would be--that's the last "freedom"! But when we asked her how she'd feel if she hit a child or caused a serious accident--she saw the light.
Sometimes it just takes a good talking to--sometimes you have to take the car keys or put a lock on the steering wheel.
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I understand it's difficult to take the keys away from someone...all the rights bs. You most likely would not be legally responsible but imo morally you would be. When I took keys away, i would get into arguements over it and my answer was always no, your not getting the keys. The way I saw it was if something happened to someone while someone who shouldnt be driving was...i was responsible because I knew better and it was not going to be on my conscience.
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When I was made POA for the health and finances for a married couple friends of mine and the wife became incontinent and started to wander, the lady I had hired to help care for her told me my friend was now a vulnerable adult and I would be held responsible if I didn't find a better situation to their living independently in their own condo. I began the final stages of getting them into a memory care apartment in an assisted living facility where the memory car floor is a locked facility and needs special key fobs to leave. It is expensive, but both she and her husband had long term care insurance which would help cover this, plus their pensions and social security. I was pleased with the care offered and the advice the nurse in charge could give to me as her frontal temporal dementia worsened. She only lasted another 5 months before her brain was shutting down and she could no longer swallow. They had all the paperwork about end of life care done when I was made their POA two years earlier and I am also the executor of their will, so I know what their wishes were should their estate have any money left. I make sure not one cent comes to me in the meantime, even for justifiable reimbursements for my travel costs between my house and the AL place. I am fortunate, in a sense, that there are no family members second-guessing my decisions or trying to get any of their estate, but I am trying to get the most meaningful things to them as I go through their condo and all the things they saved about their family heritage. I will not just discard them. It is like a second job and I have a lot to learn, but there is so much good advice out there that any questions I have are answered with good suggestions. It is important to get him in a secure facility, however you manage it. I had the same conversations 4 times with the husband who was adamant that they could live on their own and each time he agreed they should go to this facility and each time he forgot he had agreed. But the day of the move went well and I was able to make their "new" apartment look just like their bedroom and den in their condo where they spent all their time, so it looked like "home" when they got there. Once they were safe, the "emergency" was over and life could take its course without accidents or suffering. I keep the husbands family informed occasionally about his health and well-being, but they live far away and have their own troubles to deal with. They appreciate the information but I and my friend hear little back from them.
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Yes, it's called vicarious liability. In other words, he is liable just the same as you would be for a child.  It is negligent to put someone you're legally in charge of in a high risk situation like this.

Parents never expect money when they raise you from birth to adulthood, so why would anyone do the same for caring for a vulnerable elderly parent, just to save money on much needed care.  We are past the times of Charles Dickens with Oliver, surely.
Put their health and safety above money.

If you feel you have no say over this and you fear the worst, then report it to the relevant authority anonymously if you're worried about comeback.

In the U.K. we have Social Services for the elderly and disabled, as well as for children.

I'm confused why your husband was given POA for your parent though.  Is your husband controlling at home and appears like a saint to outsiders.  If so, report anonymously. This is your parent after all.

How would you like your children and their spouses to treat you.  Set an example, otherwise you might find yourself in the same crappy situation as your parent. 
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Let's just NOT plan protection from liability for the POA.
Let's just NOT focus on the inevitable serious injury or killed by a car.

Get your parent placed safely now. Focus on getting the care he needs unless the POA has everything to gain by doing nothing. imo.
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