While many elderly people enjoy the sense of independence that comes with driving, when a person begins to age their hearing, vision, and other abilities may not be sharp enough to promote a safe driving experience for themselves and other people on the road.
If you sustained an injury in an accident caused by an elderly driver in Indianapolis, Indiana, a personal injury lawyer may be able to explore your options to recover damages and may represent your interests in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Contact an Indianapolis elderly driver lawyer from Sevenish Law Firm, P.C today. at (317) 636-7777 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Understanding Elderly Drivers
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis classifies “older drivers” as those who are age 65 and older. Given the world’s aging demographic trend with the Baby Boomer generation, we will be seeing more elderly drivers on the road soon compared with previous years.
In its 2017 Older Population Traffic Safety Facts, the NHTSA reported that nearly 6,800 drivers in this age group died in motor vehicle accidents that year. Nearly 14 percent of Indiana’s fatal traffic accidents in 2017 involved older drivers.
Risk Factors That Lead to Increased Accidents with Elderly Drivers
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) outlines several risk factors that correlate with older drivers, including:
- Poor vision
- Poor hearing
- Slower reflexes and reaction time
- Stiff muscles and joints
- Medications that affect driving
Not every person experiences these physical conditions at the same age, and some elderly drivers may not experience any of these conditions whatsoever. However, the state of Indiana has taken measures to protect older drivers and other people on the road when these or other health conditions may be a concern.
For a free legal consultation with a elderly driver lawyer serving Indianapolis, call 317-548-6310
Indiana Laws Related to Older Drivers
Understanding the toll that aging may take on a person’s senses, as well as their physical and mental capabilities, Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) places some restrictions and requirements on drivers in this age group.
Driver’s License Renewal
Indiana laws stipulate that drivers who are between the ages of 75 and 85 must renew their driver’s licenses in person every three years. Drivers who are 85 or older must renew their licenses in person every two years. Once a driver turns 75 years old, they must take and pass a vision test.
If a driver allows their license to expire for more than six months, they must take a written test. The driver may also be required to take a road test if someone has registered an official complaint with the BMV about the driver’s driving capabilities, or if the agency has sufficient reason to question the driver’s medical condition or vision.
Unsafe Drivers Can Be Reported
Anyone can request that an unsafe older driver be investigated in Indiana. The BMV asks that such requests include the identity of the driver of concern and the reasons for the concern. Letters can be mailed to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 100 N. Senate Ave., Room N-402, Indianapolis, IN 4620.
If the BMV decides that an older driver did not perform well on their road test, they may impose license restrictions, the most common of which is requiring corrective lenses. The agency could also restrict the time of day for driving, like daylight only, among other restrictions.
Indianapolis Elderly Driver Lawyer Near Me 317-548-6310
Steps That an Elderly Driver May Take to Increase Safety
If an elderly person insists on driving, they have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect the safety of other road occupants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:
- Keeping up strength and flexibility with regular activity and exercise
- Planning routes prior to driving
- Avoiding distractions in the car
- Taking routes that are well lit
- Having a doctor review medicines to check and reduce side effects that might affect driving
- Driving in good weather and during daylight hours
- Getting an annual eye exam and wearing corrective lenses as required
- Leaving a generous distance between them and the cars in front of them
These are practical, reasonable precautions. If an older driver does not take these types of preventative measures, and they cause an accident, they may be held liable for damages based on tort law’s “Duty of Care” doctrine.
Duty of Care Doctrine
Tort law specifies that if four criteria are met, the victim of a personal injury has the basis for possibly holding the at-fault party liable for damages resulting from the injury.
The plaintiff may need to prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care to keep them from harm and that the defendant violated this duty. The plaintiff then must prove that this negligence resulted in their sustaining an injury, which resulted in damages.
An Indianapolis elderly driver lawyer from Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. may be able to investigate the cause of your accident and look for evidence to prove that the elderly person who caused your accident may have failed to uphold their duty of care. Call our team at (317) 636-7777 for a free case review.
If you file a claim or lawsuit against an elderly driver who caused an accident that may have led to you becoming injured, you may be eligible to recover damages resulting from your injury.
The following is a partial list of some of the types of damages you may be able to recover:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Pain and suffering
A personal injury attorney may review your medical bills and talk to experts who can report on the estimated future losses you may suffer as a result of your injuries. A demand letter may be sent to the insurance provider, and settlement negotiations may likely follow. If the insurance company fails to agree to a fair settlement, a lawyer may be able to file a lawsuit on your behalf and pursue an award in a civil court.
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Call Today to Begin the Process of Recovering Damages
Indiana’s statute of limitations gives you two years from the date of your accident in which to file a legal action against the at-fault party. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the more time you may give them to build a case and meet every deadline.
Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay us only if we win a settlement or verdict for you.
Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. at (317) 636-7777 for a free, no-obligation consultation.