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From Crash to Claim: Serious Car Accidents Involving Senior Drivers in Florida

We associate seniors with a cautious and safe approach to driving—and fairly so. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows senior drivers have lower involvement rates in fatal accidents than any other age group. But despite their exemplary conduct, you’re more likely to be involved in a serious car accident with a senior driver than with many other age brackets. Why? It’s a numbers game: seniors are a large and growing group – especially in Florida – and they’re continuing to drive later into their years.

Accidents with senior drivers can present legal circumstances which broaden your rights to compensation. If you’ve been involved in a serious car accident with a senior driver, it’s important to get help from an experienced personal injury attorney. Let’s take a look at why.

No-fault claim not always enough

If you or a family member has been injured in a Florida car accident, you usually seek Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits under your own “no-fault” insurance policy. But if your injuries are serious, and if the driver who caused your accident acted with negligence, you can file a personal injury claim directly against them.

Advantages of a personal injury claim

Personal injury claims can give you greater rights to compensation than you would otherwise have under a no-fault claim with your insurer. They allow you to recover a wider range of damages, including pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In the most severe cases, involving gross negligence or intentional misconduct, you may even have the right to claim punitive damages.

Your insurance company is only required to pay you Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits up to a certain limit, which is typically $10,000. However, if you’ve suffered serious injuries, your damages are likely to exceed this. In a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek to recover all of your damages, regardless of the limit of your PIP coverage.

Where a personal injury lawsuit is successful a claim is made from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, or if their insurance policy does not cover all of your damages, you may be able to file a claim with your own uninsured/underinsured cover.

When age and driving don’t mix: understanding senior negligence

Seniors are generally cautious and safe drivers, but aging presents its challenges and not everyone recognizes when it’s time to put their car keys aside. These few put other road users at risk and may be considered negligent in accidents they cause.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) notes that physical, cognitive and visual abilities can decline with age, and that this interferes with driving. So can the medications that some senior drivers take. Certain driving tasks, such as turning left, merging and changing lanes, become more challenging and senior drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents during these maneuvers.

Compounding the situation in Florida are our comparatively relaxed checks on the driving suitability of senior drivers. Many states require drivers to take regular vision tests after they reach 70 or 75 years. In Florida most drivers aren’t required to perform such testing until they reach 80. Beyond 80, additional vision tests are then only required every 8 years in Florida, which is less frequent than in many other states. Our late and infrequent vision testing of senior drivers increases the likelihood of not picking up drivers whose sight deterioration becomes a risk for other road users.

Senior drivers who take to the road when they shouldn’t may be acting with negligence and if you’re the victim you need to ensure your rights are protected.

Defend your rights

Serious car accidents are life changing ordeals, for you and your family. Sadly, the full emotional and financial impact may not be evident until long after the event. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, don’t risk going under-compensated. Talk to a car accident lawyer at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein today. With over $1 billion in settlements and trial verdicts, we know Florida traffic law. We’ll ensure your right to compensation is fully realized, especially where you might be the victim of negligence. Call Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein today at 305-371-2692, or schedule a time online for a free consultation. We serve residents throughout Florida from our Miami office.