For many elderly people, retaining their ability to drive is an important aspect of ensuring that they do not pose a burden to their loved ones and that they maintain their independence. Unfortunately, however, senior citizens are involved in a large proportion of collisions.
At the Law Office of Matt Uhrig have we helped many people in Columbia and elsewhere in Missouri pursue the compensation that they need.
Why Elderly Drivers Pose More of a Risk
There are a number of variables that may affect an elderly person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. As we age, our basic senses begin to weaken, including sight and hearing. Without the ability to see and listen to what is happening on the road, some elderly people are unable to react quickly enough to certain situations and avoid causing a collision.
Many senior citizens suffer from medical conditions that either impair their ability to drive or require them to take medications that impair their ability to drive. Although some doctors clearly advise their patients not to drive while taking certain medications, many elderly individuals disregard this instruction because they want to maintain their independence. As a result of these conditions and the consequences of aging, elderly drivers are frequently involved in collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists, other vehicles, and property.
Bringing a Claim for Compensation
Like any motor vehicle accident case, a collision involving an elderly driver requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was acting negligently. There are four elements in a negligence case: duty, breach, causation, and damages. On the road, we all owe each other a duty to drive with the same ordinary care and skill that a reasonably prudent driver would use under similar circumstances. This standard applies equally to all drivers, including the elderly. If a person fails to act according to this standard, he or she likely has breached the standard of care.
After showing that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care and breached that duty, the plaintiff must establish that he or she would not have sustained the injuries but for the defendant’s failure to drive according to the standard of care. In the last stage of a negligence claim, the plaintiff must provide support for the damages that he or she is claiming in the lawsuit, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost income, pain and suffering, and the costs of future treatment. If the accident was severe, the plaintiff may be prevented from returning to his or her usual occupation. In this instance, a liable defendant would likely be required to compensate the plaintiff for his or her loss of future earning capacity.
Consult an Attorney After a Motor Vehicle Collision
Being involved in a car accident with an elderly individual can be a devastating and difficult experience. Although many senior citizens have the best of intentions when they get behind the wheel, Missouri law still holds them responsible for negligent driving and entitles accident victims to pursue compensation.
At the Law Office of Matt Uhrig, we know how stressful and challenging this situation can be. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers can guide Columbia residents and others through the legal process. We also proudly serve accident victims throughout Missouri, including in Ashland and Jefferson City. Call us now at 573-657-2050 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.