Baby boomers are an aging generation and live active lifestyles that include driving. According to the reported South Carolina population as of 2016, 16.7% of the population is aged 65+ and many of these citizens currently have active SC drivers’ licenses. While age is not an indicator of an individual’s driving ability, the effects that come with aging can have a detrimental influence on driving ability. A person’s mental and physical attributes can indicate whether he or she can safely keep driving.
Ensuring Drivers are Safe
In SC, drivers older than 65 must complete a vision test at every license renewal period, as well as details about their medical health. Vision must be 20/40 with or without corrective lenses, and the field of vision must be at least 70 degrees. The state does not require mental or physical examinations for an elderly driver to renew his or her license. The individual and his or her family are the only ones who make the determination to keep driving.
There are a few signs to watch for that can indicate a driver should forfeit his or her driver’s license:
- Becoming immobile or physically weak
- Multiple medications that may cause drowsiness
- Signs of dementia
- Having minor or serious traffic accidents
- Driving too quickly or too slowly
- Losing sense of direction on roads traveled frequently
- Receiving numerous complaints about driving ability
As these signs of aging begin to appear, evaluate the need to keep driving. Accommodations can be made, such as driving only during daylight, staying on low-traffic roadways, and adding extra mirrors. At times, these adjustments are not enough to keep a driver safely on the road, however. It is the responsibility of the driver and his or her family to determine when the time has come to hang up the keys. If the negligence of this causes a car accident in Charleston or across South Carolina, you will need the council of an experienced accident attorney to help with your case.
Elderly Drivers and Traffic Accidents
If an accident caused by an elderly driver leaves you with injuries, contact us for an evaluation. There are complex laws involving driver liability. If the elderly individual causing injury was driving his or her own car during the accident, he or she would be liable. As with other types of vehicle accidents, sometimes personal injury claims are necessary to receive compensation for losses. If the elderly person was driving his or her own car and does not have a legal guardian, he or she will be solely responsible. The driver will handle the accident, insurance, and personal injury claims and will not involve negligent entrustment charges.
If an elderly person who causes an accident has health problems and is driving someone else’s car, the owner of the vehicle can be held liable for negligent entrustment. The same is true if the elderly driver has health conditions that impair driving, but an appointed legal guardian allows him or her to drive anyway. In these cases, the individual bringing forth the lawsuit must prove the vehicle owner understood the driver was incompetent but still allowed him or her to use the vehicle. Negligent entrustment can sometimes be difficult to prove, so before proceeding with a case, secure a lawyer who has multiple-case experience with these scenarios.
What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident with a Senile or Unfit Senior Driver?
Determining fault and evaluating circumstances surrounding liability and negligent entrustment requires the assistance of experienced personal injury lawyers. If the individual at fault during your accident is senile, unfit, or an incompetent driver, there may be grounds for legal recourse. Victims or family members of deceased victims can file a personal injury or wrongful death suit.
Contact our team of South Carolina and Charleston car accident attorneys us as soon as possible for a case evaluation. Our personal injury lawyers will review your individual case and advise if we feel there is a basis for a claim. Our team has experience with settlements and trial law.