America has a rapidly aging population. When people get older, their ability to competently operate a motor vehicle may become compromised. Older Americans might suffer from diminished eyesight, slower reflexes, and cognitive decline. Statistically, people aged 65 and above are among the most likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents. While older adults spend less time behind the wheel than their younger counterparts, they are involved in more accidents per mile than any other age group.
The Risks of Elderly Drivers
Some people remain safe motorists well into their 70s and 80s.
However, aging tends to take a toll on most drivers. Since driving privileges are often associated with personal independence, many elderly drivers are reluctant to give up their car keys, even when their ability to drive safely has long since eroded.
While older adults are less likely than younger people to drive recklessly, speed, or send text messages behind the wheel, they face distinct, age-related impairments that can put everyone around them at risk for injury. Elderly adults are more likely to get into accidents because they often have:
- Slower reaction times
- Poor eyesight
- Impaired hearing
- Difficulty concentrating
- A harder time gauging distance
- Medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, that can adversely impact their ability to drive safely
What to Do After Getting Into a Car Crash With an Older Driver
Any car crash has the potential to cause intense physical pain and profound emotional suffering. However, accidents involving older adults can be comparably difficult to navigate.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash with an elderly person that was not your fault, you could protect your legal rights by:
- Calling 9-1-1. You should always call emergency services after an accident, regardless of the other motorist’s age. The police can investigate the causes of the accident and write a report you could use in insurance negotiations or a personal injury trial.
- Performing a wellness check. After an accident, you should first ensure that you are safe. You may also have a legal duty to aid the other motorist, even if they were responsible for the crash. If the other driver appears injured, you should call 9-1-1 and follow the dispatcher’s instructions.
- Seeking immediate medical attention. Even if you believe you were not seriously injured in the accident, you should still make a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as whiplash, are not detectable in the immediate aftermath of an automobile accident. A physician could help you trace developing symptoms back to the accident and treat any injuries they can identify.
- Contacting an attorney. While the other driver may not have intended to do any harm, you should never feel obliged to pay out of pocket for another person’s mistake. An attorney could help you gather the evidence you need to make a full legal recovery. However, car crash cases can be very sensitive. The evidence you need to show that the other driver was at fault could be lost, misplaced, or inadvertently destroyed. A Missouri car crash lawyer could help you investigate the cause of the accident, analyze evidence, and make a compelling case for compensation.
Possible Damages After a Missouri Car Crash
Missouri, unlike some states, does not cap the damages you could receive after suffering a serious car accident injury. You could receive as much money as you need to:
- Pay your medical bills
- Pursue physical rehabilitation
- Replace any income you lost from work
- Get surgery
- Relieve emotional pain and suffering
- Compensate your disability
However, you must still demonstrate that the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries. This can be challenging. Even if the at-fault motorist is clearly elderly and visibly infirm, insurance companies are for-profit businesses beholden to their bottom line. They and their lawyers will do everything they can to minimize the value of your claim—or deny it outright.
When you are up against an insurance company and its dedicated legal counsel, you need a professional in your corner. An experienced Missouri automobile accident attorney could help you establish that the elderly driver’s physical condition, cognitive disorder, or medication side-effects caused your accident and your injuries.
Were You Hurt By an Elderly Driver?
The Law Office of Layton & Southard specializes in Missouri automobile accidents. If you or a loved one has been hurt by an older driver, you should not have to spend months or years negotiating with an insurance company that is more interested in its profits than your physical well-being. You deserve to move past your accident and heal. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident in Missouri?
If you've been injured in a car accident, you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cape Girardeau office directly at 573.335.3359 to schedule your initial consultation.