While many elderly drivers are reluctant to stop getting behind the wheel, it is often for the best. Sometimes older drivers cannot be counted on to operate their vehicles safely. Their reaction time and even ability to recognize situations with a high risk for a crash may be significantly impaired.
Many times, elderly parents and their children argue about it a lot before the elderly parents will agree to stop driving. While the safety of your parents is your primary concern, it is important to note there may be liability issues as well. In some situations, it may be possible for the elderly parents’ adult children to bear liability for damages caused by the crash.
If you were injured in a crash caused by an elderly driver, or a driver of any age, give us a call today to discuss seeking compensation for damages. Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg-based car accident lawyers have been helping crash victims for decades, and we have secured tens of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
Free consultation. No upfront fees. Call us: (717) 727-1403.
When Might Adult Children Be Held Liable?
Typically, adult children are not going to be held liable for damages caused by their elderly parents. The exception to this would be if the adult child owns the car the elderly parent was driving at the time of the crash. The adult child could be held liable for allowing the parent to drive the car if the child knew the parent was a reckless driver. This could be considered negligent entrustment.
It is important to note the victim of the crash would be seeking compensation from the liability insurance policy of the adult child. The elderly parent’s children would not be paying compensation out of their own pockets. Car insurance follows the car in Pennsylvania, so the adult child’s liability policy would cover the car when someone else is driving it.
Even if an elderly individual is a bad driver, and the children know it, they are probably not going to be held liable if they do not own the car. You could argue it is negligent for adult children to allow an elderly parent to continue driving if the parent is a bad driver. However, this is not an argument that would hold up in an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
What if a Child Pays for a Parents’ Car and Insurance?
Sometimes elderly parents move in with their adult children because it is too hard or dangerous for them to live on their own. Adult children may help their parents financially, such as by taking on car payments or paying for their insurance.
However, liability is unlikely to be borne by the adult children after a crash, unless the children own the car, or the insurance is in their name. The children could also be held liable if the vehicle is leased or rented in a child’s name.
Every situation is unique, which means victims would greatly benefit from working with a licensed attorney who has experience in car crash cases. The attorneys at Schmidt Kramer can carefully review your situation to determine all possible sources of compensation for damages. We are committed to seeking full compensation for your damages, unlike the insurance company, which is looking to deny or underpay the claim.
Keep in mind Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, which means you can seek compensation from the personal injury protection insurance in your own insurance policy. If this coverage runs out, your attorney may recommend seeking compensation from the at-fault driver’s policy. The at-fault driver’s policy might be the policy of the elderly driver’s child.
Why Are Elderly Drivers More Likely to Cause a Crash?
As we age, we often experience a decline in our physical and cognitive abilities. This decline is worse for some than others. Differences are caused by genetic factors and other factors that are more within your control, such as diet and exercise.
However, statistics show the likelihood of a fatal crash is much greater for drivers who are ages 70 to 74. The risk is highest for drivers who are 85 years of age or older. Even drivers who are 65 or older are at greater risk of a crash.
If you have been in the car with an elderly driver, you probably have some idea about why elderly drivers are not the safest. Some older drivers drive too slowly, while others have trouble staying in a lane. Sometimes older drivers will pull into traffic when they do not have anywhere near enough time to avoid oncoming traffic.
Elderly drivers often have a lot of trouble with parking and backing out of a parking space. Sometimes drivers are in cars that are much too large for them to handle.
Discussing Driving With an Elderly Parent
These are very difficult conversations to have. It is understandable that people who have been driving for decades do not want to give it up. Many people do not like to admit they need help, or that they are physically or mentally incapable of doing something.
It may take multiple conversations to get anywhere with an elderly parent. It is important to make sure children express their concerns about safety to their parents. You do not want parents to feel like they are being forced to do something. If they feel like it is their idea, they may be more likely to agree to it.
Give Schmidt Kramer a Call Today
You may think you can deal with the insurance company alone, but that might be a bad idea. Many times, crash victims who go it alone obtain less compensation than those who hire an attorney.
The insurance company is going to work hard to avoid paying fair compensation for your damages. They will look for any reason, no matter how flimsy, to deny or underpay your claim.
We are ready to help and there are no upfront fees because we work on contingency. That means we do not get paid unless we secure compensation.
Experienced lawyers with proven results. Call (717) 727-1403.