Driving is a method of independence; you can get wherever you want to go behind the wheel of your car. For our elderly population, there comes to a point where continuing to drive becomes unsafe, with both physical and mental handicaps playing a significant role. Unfortunately, the idea of taking away an elderly driver’s license generally doesn’t sit too well. Still, when an elderly person continues to drive, it often results in serious – even deadly – accidents. Here’s what you should know about elderly car accidents in New Mexico.
Ability to Act Quickly
Driving a car isn’t as simple as you may think. In order to safely operate a vehicle, the driver must be able to steer the wheel, push the brakes or the gas, and be able to tell when which is needed. Driving requires a bit of flexibility and quick reflexes, as conditions vary. When a driver is slow to make decisions or is full of confusion, it can have a very negative impact.
As we age we naturally experience a decline in our capabilities – both physical and mental. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 700 senior citizens (those aged 65 and older) suffer injuries and 20 die in vehicle accidents in the U.S. daily. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, the elderly population in the U.S. only keeps increasing.
New Mexico follows a fault-based car insurance model. This means that whichever driver is to blame for the accident is the one who will be responsible for paying the damages. Regardless of his or her reason for causing an accident (confusion, prescription medication, mental disability, or physical incapacity) this individual remains responsible. However, the victim of the accident must still be able to prove that the elderly individual was in fact to blame. He or she can do so by using accident reconstruction, videos, photos, expert testimony, and eyewitness statements.
In order to prove negligence, the following for elements must be proven:
- The defendant had a duty to the victim;
- The defendant breached that duty;
- The breach caused the accident; and
- As a result the victim suffered actual damages.
Liability for an Accident Caused by an Elderly Parent
When an elderly driver causes an accident, he or she will generally be the individual who is responsible for damages. You won’t usually be responsible for the negligence of your elderly parents. However, if you are the owner of the vehicle that was crashed by an elderly parent, your auto insurance would probably cover the damages – not your parent’s insurance. This is regardless of whether your elderly parent lives with you.
However, if you were aware of your parent’s inability to drive your vehicle safely, you may be found partially responsible for the damages. No matter what, after you have been experienced a car accident that involved an elderly driver, it’s important to speak with a qualified car accident attorney in order to gauge your options.
MPJ Law Firm Can Help Those in NM Who Have Been Injured in a Car Accident due to the Negligence or Recklessness of Another
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another party, it can be life-altering. It’s often difficult enough to deal with your physical injuries, but it can be even harder when you are left to pick up the pieces financially. You should never have to pay the price for someone else’s mistakes.
At MPJ Law Firm, we have a deep understanding of car accidents and understand the effect that such an accident can have on just about all aspects of your life. We will always act in your best interest. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!
Posted in: Automobile Accidents