Car Accidents, Elderly Drivers, and Legal Liability in Erie, PA
January 9, 2019
Driving is an activity that becomes more dangerous for people as they age. For this reason, most states have imposed stricter driver licensing requirements on elderly individuals to try to ensure that those who pose a risk of danger to others on the road will not get behind the wheel of a car. At the same time, however, the Insurance Information Institute reports that older people are keeping their licenses longer and driving more miles than ever before. Accordingly, despite states’ best efforts to prevent dangerous elderly drivers from driving, some may slip through the cracks. When this occurs, elderly drivers have the potential to cause car accidents with other drivers. If you are a driver who is involved in a car accident caused by an elderly driver, there are a few legal options you can pursue to ensure you are adequately compensated for your injuries.
When An Elderly Driver Is At Fault For The Crash in Pittsburgh, PA
If an elderly person causes a car accident and other people are either killed or injured as a result, the elderly person may be civilly liable for those injuries or deaths. This means that the elderly person may be required to pay monetary compensation to those injured and to the estate of those killed. The first way those injured and the estates of those killed will typically try to get monetary compensation from the at fault elderly driver (assuming the elderly person owns the vehicle that caused the crash) is to file a third-party insurance claim with the driver’s automobile insurance carrier. Filing a third-party claim against the elderly driver will enable those injured or killed to obtain monetary compensation without having to go through a long legal battle. However, if the insurance company either rejects the claim or if the monetary compensation awarded by the insurance company is insufficient to adequately compensate people for their injuries or deaths, then those injured and the estates of the deceased may file a civil action in court against the individual at fault.
If a person is only injured in the accident, then the civil action filed will most likely be for negligence. If the person dies in the accident, then the civil action filed will be a wrongful death action. Both negligence and wrongful death claims involve proving the same elements of the case and both generally award the same type of monetary damages.
Loss of Consortium Claims in Pennsylvania
However, regardless of whether a person involved in the car accident is injured or is killed, the person’s spouse may also file a loss of consortium claim against the at fault elderly driver in a separate civil action. This cause of action allows the unharmed spouse to obtain monetary compensation for the loss of companionship, support, and marital relations if the injured or deceased spouse is unable to provide the unharmed spouse with the above needs because of the accident.
Still, if an elderly driver is at fault for a car accident, they may not be the only one that the injured or the deceased can hold liable for the accident. For example, if a car owner lended the elderly person his or her car and they caused the car accident while driving that car, the owner can be held liable for injuries sustained and deaths that occur under a theory of negligence called negligent entrustment. Under this theory, the car owner can be held liable for the accident if the car owner knew or should have known the elderly person was an unsafe driver or had a condition that would impair his or her ability to drive.
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Elderly Car Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to an elderly car accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party, or their insurance company, to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at The Law Office of Mark A. Smith represent clients injured because of elderly car accidents in Erie, Pittsburgh, Homestead, Greensburg, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (412) 567-9598 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 322 North Shore Drive Building 1B, Suite 200 Pittsburgh, PA 15212, as well as offices in Homestead, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.