Injured in an Accident with an Unsafe Elderly Driver? Here's What You Need to Know
While no one wants to be the one to tell an older person they can no longer drive, the fact remains that many adults become less safe on the road as they get older. Florida currently leads the nation in fatality accidents involving drivers over age 65. One of the most significant contributors to this problem is that the elderly sometimes drive without proper license renewals or under certain restrictions. If you're injured in an accident involving an older driver in South Florida, here's what you need to know to help recover the compensation you need to become whole.
Florida Laws Concerning Elderly Drivers
Florida has passed laws to help keep the elderly population safe on the road, including meeting certain age-related requirements before being allowed behind the wheel. If you're injured in an accident involving an elderly driver who isn't meeting Florida's safety standards by not renewing their license or violating any restrictions on the license, you may have a case for damages.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has put the following stipulations in place for older drivers:
- Drivers over age 80 must renew their driver's license every 6 years (versus 8 years for other adults).
- Drivers over 80 must pass an eye exam and submit a Mature Driver Vision Test form to renew their license.
- Friends or family members concerned about an elderly person's condition for driving may request that the FLHSMV conduct an unsafe driver investigation. Per the investigator's findings, the older person may have certain restrictions placed on their license, such as no night driving, wearing a hearing aid behind the wheel, driving only cars with automatic transmission/power steering, etc.
Proving Negligence in Accidents with Elderly Drivers
Older drivers have the same “duty of care” in protecting other people on the road, and negligence occurs when a driver of any age fails to provide that duty of care and causes injury as a result. However, proving negligence with elderly drivers requires a slightly different approach because many older drivers aren't deliberately reckless or negligent—and in fact, they may not even realize they are unsafe to drive.
A skilled personal injury attorney may take some or all of the following steps to make a case for negligence when an elderly driver is involved:
- Checking to see when their driver's license was last renewed and whether they passed an eye exam.
- Checking to see whether there were any specific restrictions on the older person's license that were not being followed.
- Finding out whether anyone requested an unsafe driver investigation for the driver in the past several years.
Since personal injury cases involving older drivers can be complicated, it's important to have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner when filing a personal injury claim where an elderly driver is involved. The attorneys at Bottari & Doyle, P.A. understand the complexities of these types of cases and will work to help you get the settlement you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.