Older Adult Drivers and Car Accident Risks: Who Is At Fault?

If you were recently injured in a car accident in upstate New York and another motorist involved in the crash was an elderly driver, you might be wondering if that person’s decision to get behind the wheel was negligent, making that driver liable for your injuries. Or, when older adult drivers are injured in collisions, could another motorist be liable, or could another party altogether be responsible for injuries? Whenever you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, it is important to seek advice from an experienced Rochester personal injury attorney about filing a claim. At King Law, we can provide you with more information to help you understand questions of liability in crashes involving older adult drivers.

Seniors May Have Increased Injury Risks Due to Aging and Health

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers aged 70 and older are more likely to be injured or killed in car accidents than drivers between the ages of 35-54. Indeed, the CDC reports that approximately 8,000 older adult drivers sustained fatal injuries in traffic collisions in 2019, while more than 250,000 older adult drivers that year sustained injuries in crashes that required treatment in emergency departments. Why are older adult drivers more likely to be injured or killed? The CDC says that “age-related declines in vision and cognitive functioning,” and “physical changes” can impact an older adult’s ability to drive safely.

If a senior does have declining vision or cognitive functioning, or is on medications that can make driving hazardous, that senior may be liable for harm if that senior drives anyway and causes a collision. However, you should not assume that an older adult driver is automatically liable. Instead, you should have a car accident attorney in Rochester assess the facts of your case to help you.

Liability Will Only Be Important to Prove If You Meet the Serious Injury Threshold

Since New York is a no-fault state, you should keep in mind that it will only be important to prove liability if you have met the serious injury threshold and can file a lawsuit under New York law.

To meet the serious injury threshold, you must have medical evidence to show that your injury resulted in “dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent use of a body organ, member, function, or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents [you] from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute [your] usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.”

An injury that results in death also meets the serious injury threshold, and it may be possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Contact Our Rochester Car Accident Lawyers

Whether you were injured in a collision involving an older adult driver, or you are an older adult driver who was injured in a crash and has concerns about liability and comparative fault, one of our experienced Rochester lawyers can speak with you today. Contact King Law for more information about our services.


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