Florida is known for its high temperatures, beautiful weather, and peaceful atmosphere, making it unsurprising that many people choose to retire here. The state of Florida has a high percentage of retired residents that is ever-growing. So much so, it has even been estimated that by 2030, around 25% of all drivers in Florida will be 65 or above. However, changes happen as we grow older. Common examples of this being impaired hearing and deteriorating vision. This means that, unfortunately, the elderly don’t always make the best drivers, and are responsible for a number of car accidents that happen in St. Petersburg annually.
Florida generally has serious problems in relation to car accidents. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), every year, over 400,000 car accidents happen in the state alone. Unfortunately, many of these accidents are a result of elderly drivers who fail to recognize they aren’t as safe behind the wheel as they once were. This level of ignorance and stubbornness result in accidents that cause terrible injuries, and in the worst cases, even death.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving an elderly driver in the St. Petersburg area, which was not your fault, get in touch with The Law Place today. Our law firm has an equipped team of lawyers with years of experience dealing with situations and cases like yours. We will be able to offer you in-depth advice that caters to your specific situation, and we will strive to offer you the best information and advice.
Our personal injury lawyers have a combined 75 years of experience dealing with road accidents, so please do not hesitate to call us today. If any of the above has related to you, or if there is something else you think you might want us to evaluate, please get in touch. The Law Place offers a free consultation service – so what have you got to lose? Please contact us today on (941) 444-4444.
How Common Are Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers in St. Petersburg, FL?
Safe driving is primarily reliant on skills that involve cognitive, visual, and physical capabilities, impairments that are most common in the elderly.
Data from the Department of Transportation shows that when accounting for vehicle miles traveled, the fatal crash rates start to increase when the driver hits the ages of 70 to 74 and is highest amongst drivers of 85 and older. Much of this is a result of the fact that older drivers are more susceptible to injury and medical complications.
When looking at drivers involved in multiple-vehicle collisions at intersections, evidence shows that this risk begins to increase once drivers reached the age of 60. Statistics show that multiple-vehicle crashes that occur at intersections account for around 40% of all deadly crashes among drivers over the age of 80, compared to 20% for drivers under 60 years old.
The NHTSA reported that specifically in Florida, of the total number of 4,137 drivers involved in fatal crashes in a singular year, 581 of those drivers were over 65. This equates to more than any other state in the country. To put it simply, an 80-year-old is statistically much more likely to cause an auto accident in Florida than to that of a 30-year-old.
Unfortunately, personal injury protection rarely covers losses contracted from an auto accident, such as medical expenses and lost wages. If you have suffered an injury in a St. Petersburg car accident, contact The Law Place now for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
Common Causes of St. Petersburg Elderly Drivers Car Accidents
As we grow older, we acquire some unwanted health-related side effects that have a serious impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. The unfortunate but harsh reality of getting older is that it can impact us both physically and mentally. Usually, starting from the age of 55, a decrease occurs in our information processing skills, impacting our driving ability.
Older drivers are usually more likely to be dealing with age-related impairments. They may have a lower range of vision or a hearing impairment. Other well-known common afflictions include medication that might have side effects or arthritis. Although these factors may not cause the person physical symptoms, they all contribute to making a huge difference in split-second decisions.
Some conditions more common among older drivers include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Macular degeneration
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sleep apnea
If you have suffered an injury in a St. Petersburg car accident, contact us at The Law Place today for a free consultation with one of our accident attorneys.
When Is It No Longer Safe to Drive?
We recognize that driving allows older adults a form of independence that they might be lacking in their personal lives. However, the risk of being injured or killed in an accident is worth noting, as are the chances of the person harming someone else. So when should you act?
Just like any other driver in St. Petersburg, and in the state of Florida, the rules of the road apply to older drivers also, and all must follow them. You should consider looking for a new form of transportation or limiting your driving entirely if any of the following are applicable to you:
- Your response time is noticeably slower.
- You have difficulty staying in a lane while driving.
- You begin to feel nervous or scared while behind the wheel or a car.
- You have difficulty seeing signs, signals, or lights on other cars clearly.
- You have medical issues that make it difficult or painful to drive a car.
- You’ve been in near-misses lately; this may sign that it’s time to stop driving.
- You begin to have trouble judging distances at intersections or around corners.
- You’ve received more than one traffic ticket or warning from the police in the last two years.
Who Is Liable for an Elderly Driver Accident in St. Petersburg?
When it comes to liability for an accident involving elderly drivers, cases are handled in a similar way to any other accident. The law states that the operator of the car might be held liable for damages caused to others by negligent driving.
A third party could be liable for a car accident if the vehicle driven by the elderly person was owned by someone else. This person thus could be liable under two legal theories: dangerous instrumentality and negligent entrustment.
This doctrine holds that motor vehicles are considered inherently dangerous, and therefore the legal owner can be liable for any injuries caused by its negligent use. This still stands even if the owner wasn’t actually driving the car. So long as the owner granted permission for it to be driven by the negligent party. The exceptions to the dangerous instrumentality doctrine are limited (i.e., rental car use, vehicles dropped off for auto repairs, vehicles during sales).
This doctrine holds that the owner of a dangerous instrument knew or should have known of a person’s inexperience or reckless or unsafe behaviors. Yet, they allowed them to use that dangerous instrument anyway. So, if there is evidence an adult allowed their elderly parent to drive, despite knowing of medical conditions or previous history of problems that would make them unsafe to drive, the adult or owner of the car could be liable for negligent entrustment.
If you find that the above doctrines do not apply to your case, the primary at-fault party is likely the driver of the vehicle. A silver lining for those involved in car accidents with elderly drivers is that these motorists are more likely to have at least a minimum level of personal injury protection (PIP).
If you are unsure of who is liable for an accident that you have been involved in and seek further guidance, contact us at The Law Place today for a free consultation.
What Damages Can a Car Accident Attorney Help You to Claim For?
Your St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer can help you to receive compensation for your accident based upon the damages you receive. Your personal injury lawyer, in this case, will be able to help you claim for physical injuries, financial damages, and other consequences from your accident.
The most common damages for which compensation can be achieved by your St. Petersburg personal injury attorney are stated below:
- Medical bills – In America, it is often the case that the financial consequences of medical treatment are as bad as the injuries you’ve incurred themselves. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to achieve compensation for such injuries so long as you keep all of the relevant documentation and receipts of your medical expenses.
- Lost wages – The result of a car accident, unfortunately, means taking time off of work in order to recover. This can contribute to loss of wages as it limits your earning potential. Your personal injury lawyer will also be able to help you redeem such losses, provided you keep copies of any correspondence with your employer detailing time away from work.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering damages account for the pain-level and duration of your recovery, the emotional distress it entailed, and any permanent changes to your lifestyle.
- Additional costs – Car accidents cause a ripple effect to not just you, but other aspects of your personal life. This may come in the form of additional childcare, assistance required with transportation, or any other unexpected costs. Maintain any relevant bills that could count as evidence for your personal injury lawyer.
- Wrongful death – It is a possibility that this accident could mean your loved one lost their life. Wrongful death damages take into account the emotional distress, loss of companionship, lost wages, and changes to the family lifestyle.
How Should I Deal With an Insurance Company in the Event of an Accident Due to an Elderly Driver?
It is required by law that following an accident, you must inform your insurance company of the incident. The time-window to do so is dependent on your contract with them. The average time to report an accident is usually 24 hours.
We strongly advise that you should contact your St. Petersburg car accident lawyer first before speaking to your insurance company. The majority of insurance companies will be much more equipped to dealing with a claim from road traffic accidents, and they may attempt to try and trick you with unnecessary details in the hope of lowering your claim entitlement. In other instances, they may propose a settlement that could appear generous but will be significantly less than the compensation you’re entitled to.
Insurance companies have teams of experienced personal injury lawyers, trained to deter an accident case, who will devalue the worth of your case with ease. We strongly advise that you do not discuss personal injuries with your insurance provider without the presence of your lawyer. Equally, without your lawyer present, do not sign any form of documentation relating to your case. Do not discuss your case over the telephone, either. These conversations are usually recorded, and anything you might say relating to the driver, the case, or anything about the accident could be used against you in court.
How Much Will My St. Petersburg, FL. Lawyer Cost Me?
We realize that the process of working towards achieving the compensation that you are entitled to following an accident case can be extremely intimidating.
We at The Law Place take all of our cases on a contingency basis. This means you won’t incur any legal fees until the finalization of your settlement. Your legal fees will be subtracted from the final amount your claim was awarded. This also means that, in the event that your claim was unsuccessful, you won’t be charged at all.
All of our contingency work is strictly monitored by the State Bar Association. Therefore, you can be safe in the knowledge that your claim is in regulated, trustworthy hands.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you have been involved in an accident in St. Petersburg due to an elderly driver, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Place in St. Petersburg today.
Our St. Petersburg team boasts years of experience in road accident claims. Our lawyers work together as a team on each case, meaning you will benefit from a variety of insights.
We strive to go above and beyond to ensure that you receive the best result from your case. Our free consultations are the first step in earning the compensation you are rightfully entitled to. By placing your faith in The Law Place, you will receive honest legal advice from the beginning of your claim until your final settlement.
We offer a free consultation at a time that is most convenient for you. Our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. Please contact us today on (941) 444-4444 to begin your case.