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The Dangers of Elderly Driver Accidents in Seattle

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on November 3, 2016

The following scenario might have happened to you. You’ve just been in an accident, one that wasn’t your fault. You may have even been injured. But when you learn that the driver who caused the crash is elderly, you suddenly feel sorry for them. Rather than zealously pursing the compensation you deserve, you feel guilty that you may be the reason why they are no longer allowed to drive.

Unfortunately, the above scenario is far too common. The latest data we have from the CDC indicates that elderly drivers are much more likely to be in an accident. Have a look at these numbers:

  • More than 5,560 older adults are killed annually and more than 214,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes. That means a daily average of 15 older adults killed and 586 injured.
  • There were almost 36 million licensed older drivers in 2012, a 34 percent increase from 1999.
  • Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70‒74 and are highest among drivers age 85 and older.
  • Age-related declines in vision and cognitive functioning (ability to reason and remember), as well as physical changes, may affect some older adults’ driving abilities.

And while the above numbers are partially explained by the increased susceptibility to injury of older car passengers, there is clear evidence that as drivers age, they become more of a risk to harm others as well.

So while you may naturally feel some hesitance to pursue a claim against an elderly driver, doing so may actually be helping to prevent future accidents, by motivating an unsafe driver to find an alternative form of transportation.

It is already a provision of Washington State law to have restrictions for drivers that have exhibited signs of decreased faculties, caused by certain neurological, physical, cardiovascular, emotional, or psychiatric conditions. These license restrictions include:

  • Requiring individuals with significant vision impairments to wear corrective lenses while driving.
  • Restrict driving at certain times of the day.
  • Prohibit driving on the freeway or beyond a certain area.
  • Require the installation of special mechanical devices.
  • Require extra support for proper driving position.

If you or a loved one have been injured in accident by an elderly driver, you are entitled to all of the same compensation as you would be for a younger driver. In fact, when a driver does not pay heed to their limited faculties and causes an injury or property damage as a result, they may have committed negligence. To ensure that you receive all of the compensation that you are due, consider contacting the experienced Seattle vehicle accident attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. Call (888) 228-3860 today to schedule a free consultation.

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