Is Car Accident Liability Different for Elderly Than Other Motorists?

Is Car Accident Liability Different for Elderly Than Other Motorists?

car accident liability

Senior driving presents a complex issue for those sharing the streets with them and lawmakers. Older people are more vulnerable to disease and other issues that can impact their driving capabilities. That means that they are fundamentally higher risk than other drivers. However, you can’t exactly treat an entire age group differently based on what illnesses and conditions they may or may not have. Creating laws or rulings based on age is often seen as discriminatory. Here is some information on how car accident liability may differ for the older population.


Common Causes of Accidents

Car accidents aren’t always big collisions that lead to major damage to a vehicle. They may be minor fender benders or other accidents that result in dings or dents. However, reckless driving of any kind can severely affect your insurance rates.

The most common causes of these car accidents are drunk driving and distracted driving. Distracted driving can be a result of anything from loud music to eating behind the wheel. A person may also drive poorly if they are under the influence of some kind of medication or drug.

Elderly people face a few different problems that most younger individuals do not.

To begin with, they’re often on more medications than the average person under 65 years of age. In addition, older individuals are more likely to suffer from eye or mobility medical issues, which can impair their driving.

With that said, regular visits to a physician will ensure that a senior citizen gets the help they need. If they’re unable to drive, then their doctor can provide a report of their condition to their state’s DMV which can lead to a revoked driver’s license.


Accident Statistics for the Elderly

While services exist to transport people around their cities, driving is still one of the most common ways to get around. However, the risk of injury due to a traffic accident increases with age. Although people tend to improve their driving skills over time, that changes as they enter their senior years.

According to the CDC, drivers over the age of 70 have a higher crash death rate per mile than other adult drivers. Age-related declines in vision and cognitive skills are believed to contribute to these statistics.

These statistics do not take into account minor accidents, however. It’s difficult to track their cause due to many people driving off without notifying the other vehicle’s owner.


Medical Issues to Consider

accident victim

The top health concerns for senior citizens include cognitive decline, balance issues, and vision or hearing loss. All of these affect a person’s ability to drive and make quick decisions on the road.

Although there are medications to help alleviate symptoms from these conditions, those medications also bring their own share of side effects.

Blood pressure medications can make someone dizzy or nauseous. Others cause a lack of energy and headaches.

While an insurance company will not look into your health records, they can see any accidents caused as a result of your health issues. Additionally, regularly getting into accidents will increase your premiums and may result in a loss of coverage.


The Potential for Injury

In addition to their preexisting issues, elderly drivers are also more susceptible to injury after an accident. If a younger driver gets into an accident with an elderly one, then their insurance company may have to provide much more coverage than someone else may need.

There’s also an increased risk if an injured person tries to continue driving before they’re fully recovered. It will only exacerbate their other issues, which can lead to dangerous driving and a higher risk of another accident.


Third-Party Car Accident Liability

Most vehicle insurance companies include some kind of bodily injury liability coverage for drivers. Liability is the same for all motorists in that the at-fault driver is held liable. Whether or not you’re elderly or not doesn’t affect that fact.

However, the owner of the vehicle is usually held accountable, and not the driver. If an elderly family member used your car and got into a serious accident, then you are responsible for the result. Their driving patterns and accidents directly affect your third-party coverage, even if they have their own insurance policy.

The insurance policy follows the owner of the vehicle, not the driver. It’s your family’s responsibility to refuse access to your vehicle if another person is an unsafe driver.

Call your insurance agent if you ever intend to loan out your car for a certain amount of time.


Safety Tips

Although you may be an elderly driver with medical issues, that doesn’t mean you can’t take to the road. Many senior citizens drive safely well into their 80’s and 90’s.

First of all, make sure to buckle your seatbelt. Pull the strap until it locks into place. A taut seatbelt can help keep you from jostling around in your seat.

Mute your cell phone so it can’t distract you. Even a simple text notification may avert your eyes and cause an accident. On the same note, try not to answer or make any calls on busy roads.

If you have trouble driving at night, then try to avoid doing so. Headlights help light up the road, but they can also make it difficult to see when coming from other vehicles.

Learn how your medications can affect you. If they make you drowsy or inhibit your cognitive functions, then consider getting someone to drive you around. Know your limits and don’t push yourself too far.


Get Elderly Accident Liability Coverage

Elderly Accident Liability

Car accident liability is necessary if you plan on sharing the road with other drivers. Unfortunately, you may find yourself facing high premiums and limited coverage as an elderly driver. Even if you’re an otherwise completely safe and responsible driver, senior citizens face a lot of discrimination as drivers.

Alpha Accident Lawyers has your back. Our office can help you get liability coverage that matches your needs. Contact us to learn more or if you have any questions.

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