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Being in a car accident caused by a senior driver can be a very unpleasant and painful experience. Painful not only in the physical sense, but also in the psychological sense. For many people, it can be difficult to file a personal injury claim, let alone a lawsuit, against an elderly driver out of empathy for that driver.

If you have been in an elderly driver accident and this sounds exactly like you, then you should definitely ask yourself this question: “Would you be willing to let this empathy win over and lose your eligibility for compensation?” If you did not have a Seattle elderly driver accident attorney evaluate your damages and put a dollar amount on your personal injury claim, you do not know if there is a considerable sum of money and if your car crash was severe, and whether you will require life-long medical treatment.

Either way, it’s up to you. Washington state law entitles you to recover monetary compensation for your damages and losses suffered in a car accident caused by an elderly driver in Seattle, Everett, Marysville, Spokane, and elsewhere in our state. Here at Russell & Hill, PLLC, our skilled auto accident lawyers will be happy to assist you with pursuing a personal injury claim and ensuring that your compensation reflects the total value of your damages.

The risks associated with elderly driving

Why are we talking about elderly drivers specifically? That’s because starting from age 60 or so, a senior driver is more likely to cause a car crash, and the likelihood of being involved in an auto accident rises with every passing year. Statistics show that fatal car accident rates see a sharp upward trend when a driver reaches ages 70 to 74, and the rates are the highest among senior drivers ages 85 and older.

Fact: By 2030, it is estimated that there will be nearly 10 million senior citizens 85 and older in the U.S., according to U.S. Census Bureau projections. That’s a whopping 73 percent increase from the total number of people 85 and older living in the U.S. today.

How senior age affects driving abilities

Why is this a problem? “Unfortunately, with age come significantly impaired driving abilities, because senior citizens are prone to suffering from medical conditions that impact the driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle,” explains our experienced elderly driver accident attorney in Seattle.

These medical conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke
  • Cataracts
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes complications
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetes
  • Macular degeneration or weakness and
  • Multiple Sclerosis

While the impact of these medical conditions on an elderly driver’s abilities to safely operate a vehicle varies from one individual to another, they can lead to devastating consequences if a senior driver fails to assess his or her ability to safely drive.

Why elderly drivers are more likely to cause car accidents

These are the most common issues that cause car accidents involving senior drivers:

  • Since joints and muscles can stiffen and weaken over time, an elderly driver may not be able to quickly turn the steering wheel to avoid a collision or apply the brakes quickly;
  • If a senior driver’s eyesight and hearing is not what it used to be a few years or decades ago, that driver is more likely to miss or misread traffic signs and fail to hear other motorists honking, among other things;
  • If an elderly driver is taking any medication, he or she is more likely to be drowsy, fatigued, or suffer from impaired judgment, vision problems, other health complications and side effects; and
  • Senior drivers have slower reflexes and reaction times compared to their younger counterparts, which may make it problematic for an elderly individual to react quickly to a hazard.

Washington state law requires elderly drivers to renew their driver’s licenses every six years. If an elderly driver, who caused your car accident, failed to comply with this requirement, you may be able to prove that this driver should not have been allowed to drive in the first place. Consult with our Seattle elderly driver crash lawyers at Russell & Hill, PLLC, to get a free case evaluation. Call our offices at 206-516-2045 today.

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