Car Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers
As more people are living longer, the number of elderly drivers on the road is increasing. Many elderly people enjoy driving as a way of maintaining their independence. However, studies indicate that elderly drivers do present greater risk factors than their younger counterparts, creating significant concern in some insurance carriers over car accidents involving elderly drivers. If you or an elderly person you know was involved in a car accident, we recommend you promptly contact an experienced Riverside personal injury attorney at Heiting & Irwin to learn about your rights and responsibilities/exposure by calling (951) 682-6400 for a free consultation today.
Elderly Drivers on United States Roads
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has approximately 48 million licensed drivers aged 65 years or older. This number has actually grown by 68 percent over the last 20 years! The RAND Corporation predicts that elderly drivers (those aged 65 and older) will make up 25 percent of all licensed drivers in the United States by 2025.
Why Elderly Drivers Are at Greater Risk of Being Involved in an Accident
CDC data indicates that, every day, about 20 elderly people are killed in car accidents and 540 are injured. Elderly drivers are only 16 percent more likely than other drivers to cause an accident, according to the RAND Corporation; however, they face more significant risks on the road than their younger counterparts for two key reasons.
Elderly people have a higher death rate per 1,000 car accidents than younger drivers. Studies indicate that people become more frail or more susceptible to serious injury as they age related to reduced bone density, muscle mass, and mobility.
Deteriorating Driving Ability
And aging does cause some physical and mental decline, including vision, hearing and cognitive function. These factors can result in reduced driving ability and a greater risk of being involved in a crash. Since aging is a gradual process, many people do not recognize how their driving ability is declining and continue to drive without realizing that they need to compensate or are being unsafe.
Most Americans live at least seven to ten years past the age when some studies claim they can no longer drive safely (although many continue to drive anyway). A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer from Heiting & Irwin may be able to help determine how this relates to, and impacts, a possible case.
Common Behaviors of Elderly Drivers Who Cause Car Accidents
An elderly person is less likely to speed or drive recklessly than a younger driver. But, other driving behaviors can cause a crash. These can include:
- Disrupting the flow of traffic by driving too slowly
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Failing to yield to other vehicles or pedestrians
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Misjudging safe following and stopping distances
- Turning or changing lanes without using a signal
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
- Use of a phone, radio, or other device while driving
How Elderly Drivers Can Reduce Their Risk
There are certain precautions an elderly driver (or any driver, really) can take to reduce his or her risk of being involved in a car accident while driving. These include:
- Avoiding driving when there is a greater risk of an accident, such as during peak traffic hours or when visibility is low at dawn or dusk or at night, or in hazardous weather conditions
- Avoiding distracted driving, such as cell phone use
- Avoiding driving on unfamiliar roads or routes
- Never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that may affect driving abilities
Compensation in Car Accident Cases Involving Elderly Drivers
California uses the comparative fault law to determine liability in car accident cases. Under this system, each driver involved in a crash may be assigned a percentage of responsibility for the incident, and that number can reduce a driver’s entitlement to compensation, or increase their responsibility.
Whether you are an elderly driver, or you have been involved in an accident with an elderly driver, you may be entitled to be compensated for some or all of your losses. You should seek a free consultation and analysis from our experienced personal injury attorneys at Heiting & Irwin. There is a strict time limit, the statute of limitations, for how long a person has to file a claim after an accident. Evidence may be lost over time. Therefore, an injured driver will want to act quickly when seeking an attorney to help with compensation for damages.
Learn Your Legal Options By Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney Today
The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin have been handling car accident cases since 1976. Our experienced legal team has experience with car accidents involving elderly drivers and we have an outstanding track record of success in all types of personal injury cases. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact on of our a dedicated car accident attorneys at Heiting & Irwin (www.hilegalgroup.com) by calling (951) 682-6400 to schedule a free consultation today.