Set in southwest Florida, Fort Myers is a highly populated residential area due to its picturesque surroundings, popular metropolitan area, and sunny weather. Home to 15,955 senior residents, the elderly make-up just under 25% of the overall current population in Fort Myers, and it is estimated that by 2030 around 25% of all drivers in Florida will be 65 or older.
Every year, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), over 400,000 crashes happen in Florida state alone. Many of these accidents are caused by older drivers who may not be as safe as they used to be behind the wheel. Unfortunately, due to deteriorating vision, impaired hearing, and slower reactions, the elderly do not always make the best drivers and are responsible for a number of accidents each year.
If you or a loved one has found yourself to be injured in a Fort Myers car accident involving an elderly driver and it wasn’t your fault, then you could have the right to take legal action. The Law Place has over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with cases like yours and can provide excellent information and advice relating to your exact situation. The Law Place personal injury lawyers are here to help. Call us today on (941) 444-4444 to speak to an attorney and arrange a free consultation.
How Common Are Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers?
In order to drive safely, we rely on key skills that involve physical, cognitive, and visual capabilities. Unfortunately, as we get older, these capabilities often deteriorate with age.
Statistically, an older person over the age of 65 is more likely to cause a car accident in comparison to those who are of a younger age. This is supported by data from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who reported that fatalities involving those 65 and older increased by 3% between 2006 and 2015. Fatal crash rates begin to increase when a driver reaches the age of 70, and they are at their highest among drivers who are 85 and older. Much of this is due to the fact that older drivers are more likely to incur injuries or medical complications.
Personal injury protection rarely covers losses incurred after a car accident, such as lost wages and medical bills. Contact The Law Place today to talk to one of our personal injury attorneys and receive some no-obligation legal advice.
For a free legal consultation with a elderly driver accidents lawyer serving Fort Myers, call 941-444-4444
Common Causes of Car Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers
As we get older, our aging can impact our minds and bodies, and often bring unwanted side effects that can have a serious impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. From the age of 55, a decrease in information processing and driving ability is likely to kick in. Older drivers are usually much more likely to be dealing with age-related impairments, such as a decrease in their range of vision and hearing.
Other common afflictions include arthritis and prescribed medication that has negative side effects, such as drowsiness. Although these afflictions may not cause obvious physical symptoms, a person may be unaware of the impact they can have on their ability to react quickly in auto accidents.
In addition, there are also a range of other conditions that are typically more common among older drivers. These include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart attack
- Macular degeneration
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sleep apnea
Fort Myers Elderly Driver Accident Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
At What Point Is It No Longer Safe to Drive?
For the older generation, the ability to drive allows them the freedom to be both active and independent. Just like any other driver, elderly drivers are expected to follow the road regulations and provide a duty of care when driving. Unfortunately, the risk of being injured in a car accident increases with age, as does the likelihood of harming someone else.
If you are thinking about continuing to drive in your later years, it is important to keep a few things in mind. It may be time to consider looking for alternative transportation options or limiting the amount you drive if any of the following apply:
- Your reaction times appear to be noticeably slower.
- You find it difficult to see signals, signs, and lights on other cars clearly.
- You begin to feel anxious or scared while behind the wheel.
- You have any trouble with the fundamentals of driving, such as drifting into other lanes, braking, or accelerating suddenly without reason.
- You have any medical issues that make it painful or difficult to drive a car.
- You have problems with memory, including forgetting routes that used to be second nature.
- You have trouble hearing emergency sirens or car horns.
How Can You Reduce the Car Accident Risk in Fort Myers, FL?
Many older drivers are often not up to date with current safety advice and regulations due to the fact that they are likely to have passed their tests when the roads were less saturated, and there were fewer distractions items, such as mobile phones.
By law, most drivers need to renew their driver’s license every eight years, and once over the age of 80, drivers are required to renew it every six years. Alongside these license renewals, drivers may also be required to pass an eyesight test to ensure their vision is up to standard to drive a vehicle.
Once 65 or older, the following points should be considered to ensure safe driving:
- Get your eyesight and hearing checked every year – Specialists highly recommend that you make sure any eyesight or hearing prescriptions are up to date. Ensure you always wear your glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aid whilst driving.
- Stay vigilant and keep your eyes on the road – Keep a safe following distance, always overtake in a safe and legal manner, and stay within the speed limits whilst driving in Fort Myers.
- Wear your seatbelt – It is a legal requirement, and if involved in an accident, they can prove vital in limiting injury.
- Limit distractions such as phones or smart devices – If you need to use your phone, stop and pull over in a safe place. Avoid changing radio stations, eating, drinking, or any other activities that may take your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel even for a split second.
- Don’t drive if you are tired – Fatigue can lead to a decrease in alertness, slower reaction times, and difficulty in focusing.
- Don’t drive if you have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs – This includes medications that may have negative side effects, make sure to speak with your doctor about how they may affect your driving ability.
- Avoid driving in bad conditions – This includes driving at nighttime, in bad weather, or during peak rush hours. Driving in these conditions increase your chance of a collision.
If you have found yourself to have been in an auto accident in Fort Myers that wasn’t your fault, then you may be able to claim compensation. Contact The Law Place today for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
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Liability in A Fort Myers Vehicle Accident Case
When it comes to liability for an accident involving older drivers, cases are handled in a very similar way to any other accident. The law states that the driver of the vehicle may be held liable for damages and injury to others that were caused by careless driving. In addition, a third party may also be liable for an accident if the vehicle driven by the older person is owned by someone else. That person could be liable under two legal terms.
This term highlights that vehicles are considered to be inherently dangerous. Therefore, the legal owner can be held responsible for any injuries caused by its negligent use, even if the owner wasn’t driving the car, and as long as the owner has previously given permission for it to be driven by the negligent party. The exception to this rule applies to rental vehicle use, vehicles in garages undergoing repairs, or vehicles in the midst of sales.
This doctrine holds that the owner of a vehicle should be aware of a person’s inexperience or potential behaviors that may be deemed unsafe, and therefore the potential risk incurred by allowing them to use the vehicle anyway. For example, if there is evidence that a vehicle owner allowed a more senior person to drive, in the knowledge that they may have a medical condition that could make it unsafe, the owner of the car may then be liable for negligent entrustment.
If these legal doctrines are not found to be applicable to your case, then the primary at-fault party would be the driver of the vehicle. If you have experienced pain and suffering and incurred lost wages and medical bills as a result of an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, then you may be entitled to compensation. Contact The Law Place at Fort Myers, FL, today to receive some no-obligation legal advice from an experienced accident attorney.
Auto Accident Attorney in Fort Myers
If you find yourself in an accident with an elderly driver in Fort Myers, they may try and place the blame on you. Many older drivers are afraid that the incident will cause them to lose their license, and resultantly their sense of independence. Disputes regarding accidents like this are not uncommon in Fort Myers and Southwest Florida, and many individuals find it hard to pressure an older person into accepting liability.
It is likely that insurance companies will try and deal with an accident in a discreet manner, often devaluing your claim and try to get you to accept as quickly as possible. This is why at The Law Place, we always highly recommend getting a personal injury lawyer to represent you in cases like this.
It is important to remember that no matter how friendly insurance companies may appear, they are always looking out for their own personal interests first. Therefore, no matter how certain you are that the driver was at fault, try to avoid speaking to their insurance company as much as possible.
What Will The Law Place Do for Me?
Once you have made the decision to speak to a law firm about a car accident that has happened in Fort Myers, FL, a free consultation will be arranged with one of our personal injury lawyers. In this consultation, they will discuss your accident and evaluate the amount of compensation you may be entitled to for any damages or pain and suffering caused.
Following your consultation, if you decide to hire our law firm, we will then arrange another meeting with one of our personal injury lawyers, where we will go into as much detail as possible regarding your accident. Once you agree to go ahead with your claim, your lawyer will then take over the case for you. They will gather any relevant evidence and liaise with all parties involved in the crash.
At The Law Place in Fort Myers, FL, our personal injury lawyers fully understand how stressful car accidents can be, and that is why we work on a contingency basis. This means that you will not pay for anything upfront, and any fees will be deducted from your final settlement. Therefore, should your case be unsuccessful, you will not incur any charges.
Call The Law Place Today
If you or a loved one have found yourself to be involved in a Fort Myers car incident due to an elderly driver, then you could be entitled to compensation. At The Law Place, our personal injury lawyers have over 75 years of experience and frequently deal with cases like yours. We are here to help in any way that we can. Call The Law Place in Fort Myers, FL, on (941) 444-4444, and start your claim today.