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Elderly Drivers and Atlanta Car Accident Risks

As a person ages, he or she may experience physical decline, cognitive impairments, a change in sensory judgment and a change in emotions. The physical and mental changes that a body goes through can compromise a senior citizen's ability to drive. This can make it difficult for seniors in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia, who may not want to give up their ability to get around on their own, but who may present a risk on the roads. elderly

Because of the recognized dangers associated with older adults driving vehicles, the majority of seniors responding to a recent survey have indicated they believe that the laws should be tougher on older drivers. As Insurance News reports, around 70 percent of seniors aged 65 and older believe that a driver who is 75 years of age and up should be required to renew a driver's license in person. Most seniors also believe that a medical examination should be required any time a 75+ year old wants to get a license. Despite this general belief, however, a personal injury lawyer knows that many individual seniors may not be certain about when it is personally their time to stop getting behind the wheel.

Senior Driving Safety Awareness is an Important Issue

To draw attention to the risks associated with senior driving, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week was held this December. This is an annual event which, this year, ran from December 1- December 5. Although it is over for the year, a big part of the event is encouraging seniors and their families to have an open discussion and create a plan for when driving has become impossible. This is something that can be done any time. As part of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, a different specific activity was suggested for each day, and seniors and those with elderly family members can do those activities now or over the holiday season. The activities include:

  • Having a family conference: Discussing the issue of elder driving safety is something that several family members should be a part of. The holidays, when family members get together, are a good time for younger family members to determine if the senior in their life has limitations that will make driving difficult.
  • Identifying changes that affect driving abilities. Seniors and their younger family members need to be aware of some of the physical and mental health issues that can compromise the ability to drive safely. This will make it easier to recognize when those problems arise.
  • Exploring adaptive devices. There are products and devices that can make it easier for an older person to drive, potentially extending the period of time the senior can remain independent.
  • Undergoing an evaluation by a medical professional. A doctor, occupational therapist or other healthcare provider can conduct an exam to determine if a senior is still OK to drive.
  • Learning to adapt to changes. A senior and his or her family members should create a plan for how the senior can continue to get around once driving no longer is an acceptable means of transportation.

Planning ahead and understanding options when a senior can no longer driver could help to keep people off the roads once they present a risk to themselves and others.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.

Car-Sharing and Atlanta Traffic Accident Risks

For motorists in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia, car sharing services like Uber provide a new option for transportation. Drivers have taken advantage of the opportunity to become car sharers and provide rides for extra money. Despite the advantages of extra income and a new mode of transportation, however, a personal injury lawyer knows that there are some significant risks associated with car sharing. taxi-bubble-sign-1442111-m

The big issue is who can be held responsible in the event that an accident happens. This question can come up when a negligent driver causes a crash and injures a passenger who signed up for car sharing. It also arises if a driver strikes an innocent pedestrian, bicyclist or other motorist will the driver is transporting a passenger as part of car sharing.

Who is Liable for Injuries Caused by a Car-Sharer? 

Forbes recently addressed the question of who can be held liable in situations where an accident happens while car-sharing. As the article made clear, the driver is often the only one who is held legally responsible for covering damages that are caused to victims.

Car sharing companies protect themselves from lawsuits brought by passengers by having passengers sign comprehensive liability releases upon downloading the app and booking a ride. Passengers agree not to sue or hold the company accountable not just for accidents but for other problems like assaults caused by drivers.

Other motorists who may be stuck by a driver offering car sharing of course did not sign a liability release. However, they may still be unable to sue because the drivers who work for these car sharing services are independent contractors and not employees. The car sharing companies may simply be acting as an information company and are not actually offering rides, which means the Communications Decency Act may provide additional protection from liability.

Since the companies may be immune from liability, this leaves victims filing a lawsuit against the driver. The problem is, the driver may have insufficient insurance or may be entirely lacking in coverage for collision damages.

Many insurance companies have been very resistant to providing coverage for car sharing. A spokesperson for the Property Casualty Association of America has released the statement that a "private passenger auto policy isn't intended to cover livery services." According to the SF Gate, the Association believes that, in most cases, state law would allow an insurer to cancel services to a policyholder providing car sharing since the risk of this type of commercial driving is materially different than the typical risk assumed by an auto insurer.

State Farm has refused to cover drivers who engage in car-sharing, as has Geico. In fact, the SF Gate recently reported on leaked documents from Geico showing just how hard a line the company takes against those who want to offer rides for money. The documents instruct staff members to group reject car sharers and provide a script that the staff is supposed to read that lets drivers know they need to either get other insurance or prove they aren't offering rides any more.

If drivers don't have coverage for collisions, then it becomes much more complicated for crash victims to file a lawsuit and obtain damages after a crash.

Call the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C. at 1-800-898-HAYS or visit http://www.garymartinhays.com to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured in Atlanta, Duluth, Savannah or surrounding areas of Georgia.