Car Accidents Involving Seniors

Car accidents are commonplace all over the state of Florida. Newscasters mention the latest ones almost on a daily basis. Commuters have learned to recognize slow traffic on the freeway as a sign that a car crash took place. Sometimes they’re minor. Other times they can range from damage to motor vehicles to catastrophic injuries or even death. And, if one of the injured parties is an elderly driver, the fear and anxiety increase substantially.

Elderly Driver Accident Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers who are more than 75 years of age have a higher risk of death during a car accident than middle-aged drivers. In addition to their increased vulnerability, many of them deal with age-related ailments, such as impaired vision or a decrease in their cognitive functioning — which affect their ability to drive safely.

Since Florida is a popular destination for people to retire, it’s no surprise that the Sunshine State leads the nation in the number of elderly drivers who die as a result of a car accident. To add insult to injury, many who survive the accident may have underlying medical conditions that may cause them to take longer to recover from injuries — such as osteoporosis, arthritis, or heart disease.

Common Causes of Senior Driving Accidents

Senior drivers tend to be more cautious than younger counterparts. However, there are several causes that increase the risk of getting into an accident.

1. Decreased Range of Motion

There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Most of them make it painful to steer the wheel, maneuver their way to avoid an accident, or turning to check their blind spots.

2. Impaired Vision

There are several eyesight conditions that tend to affect the elderly population in greater numbers. These include glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.

3. Reduce Cognitive Abilities

Processing visual cues, paying attention, and coordinating driving skills are all functions that become impaired in people who first start to experience symptoms of dementia. This can cause slow reactions and distracted driving.

4. Medications

People who are 65 and older account for 34% of prescription medication use and 30% of over-the-counter medication use. All drugs include the risk of side effects — many of them including drowsiness or confusion.

How Being Elderly Can Influence a Car Accident Case

Every motorist on Florida roads is required by law to use reasonable care when operating a motor vehicle. This includes wearing a seat belt and complying with traffic laws. Failing to do so would be considered negligence. Being elderly comes into play in two scenarios:

  1. If the elderly person breaches their duty of care — such as driving when they are aware that their health conditions could pose a danger when operating a car — and that breach causes an accident, they could be found negligent and held liable for damages caused during the car accident. If the elderly driver dies during the accident, the injured parties could sue the deceased person’s estate.
  2. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, they will be held liable for all injuries sustained by the elderly driver — including those that are worse due to a pre-existing medical condition. This is called the eggshell plaintiff doctrine. Under such legal theory, defendants cannot claim that had the accident occurred to a younger or healthier individual, the injuries would’ve been less serious.

Call Us at Clark Law for a Consultation

There are many factors that affect the outcome of a case. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. We’ll consider all circumstances to determine your best next step. We can also ensure that you receive proper compensation for any present as well as future medical expenses relating to your neck injuries.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.