Elderly Driver Accidents
Let’s face it, we all have loved ones who maybe should not be driving. They were excellent drivers for all of their lives, but in the past few years things have gotten worse. We love our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles and want them to be safe. But, asking for their keys can be difficult because it represents a substantial loss of freedom for the driver.Massachusetts Laws on Elderly Drivers
The laws in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regarding elderly driving are not as strict as many states. A driver’s license needs to be renewed every five years. When the driver turns 75 they need to physically go to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to renew the license. At the Registry, the elderly driver will need to pass a vision or bring proof they recently passed a vision test.
If there are concerns, the Registry can place restrictions on the older driver. For example, the restrictions might prevent driving at night, not allow driving a manual transmission, require wearing glasses or hearing aids, and not driving during peak driving hours.
If a healthcare provider is concerned about a specific older driver, they also have a legal requirement to report that person to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Registry will then investigate that person to ensure that he/she is still in a condition to be a safe driver.I was Struck by an Elderly Driver, Now What?
The fact that a person injured you in a car accident happened to be older, by itself, does not necessarily help your claim. Many older drivers are perfectly safe drivers. However, some elderly drivers lack the physical ability to drive safely. This can be caused by many different factors.
Many people lose their vision or hearing as they get older. Others become physically frail. Still more lose the ability to process information quickly. Any of these things can make an elderly person a danger behind the wheel.
However, we are trying to establish fault. Did that elderly driver break a rule of the road? If there is a dispute as to what happened, showing that the elderly person, while well intentioned, lacked the vision, strength, or mental capacity to drive safely, it can help prove your case..
There are other ways we can prove fault. First, we might look to the driver’s restrictions. Was it dusk and they really should not have been out? If the at fault party is driving when they have restrictions precluding them from doing so, the doctrine of negligence per se might help your claim tremendously. Negligence per se is a legal concept that someone breached a duty they owed to you when they violate a statute and you are injured as a result.Driving History Matters
In the cases we see where our clients are injured by elderly drivers, the at fault driver frequently has a history of driving related problems. They might even have health related problems that impact their ability to drive safely. All of these facts are important and are not readily accessible.
In Massachusetts, you can generally get someone else’s driving record from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, but getting their medical history is far more complicated.You Need an Experienced Lawyer
You need an experienced attorney fighting for you. Was the elderly driver supposed to be driving at all? Were there restrictions on his/her license? Did the person have any medical conditions that affected his/her ability to drive? These are all questions that must be answered.
At Marcotte Law Firm, we know how to get the right evidence that can help maximize the benefits you recover. We will work tirelessly for you leaving no stone left unturned as we try to complete the puzzle that is the accident you were involved in. The same accident that turned your life upside down.
Give us a call today for a free consultation, (978) 458 – 1229.