Elderly Driver Accidents

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It’s scary to imagine your elderly family member, neighbor, or friend getting into a crash, and it’s just as frightening to be in a car accident involving an elderly driver. Older drivers are more likely to be severely injured in a crash, and their risk of being killed also increases.

Laws that govern senior drivers are meant to protect everyone on the road, but sometimes, mistakes happen. If you have been involved in a car accident caused by an elderly driver, don’t assume that age is automatic proof of negligence. You need an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer on your side to help you analyze the evidence, calculate your damages, and negotiate on your behalf.

Indiana Elderly Driving Laws

No state revokes someone’s driver’s license solely based on age, but each state does have its own set of rules concerning older drivers.

In Indiana, elderly drivers are required to renew their Indiana driver’s license more frequently:

  • People younger than 75 years old must renew every six years
  • People between 75 and 84 years old must renew every three years
  • People 85 years and older must renew every two years

Additionally, elderly drivers have limited renewal options in Indiana:

  • People younger than 75 years old can renew electronically every other renewal
  • People 75 years and older must renew in-person

Similar license renewal restrictions are common throughout the United States, but age requirements vary widely.

Older Drivers: Dangers and Risk Factors

Elders on the road are common to stereotype as poor drivers, but in general, drivers aged 65 years and older generally engage in safer driving behaviors than other age groups. At the same time, though, they are more likely to be injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash, commonly due to age-related health problems.

Older drivers can suffer from one or more age-related risk factors that may affect their ability to drive safely. These dangers can include the following.


As the decision-making skills and memory of elders with dementia fail, driving can be more difficult. Even worse, older people with dementia are often unaware of their cognitive decline and therefore don’t take extra precautions on the road.

Slower Reflexes

A quick reaction time is an essential skill for all drivers, and elderly drivers who lose these abilities may not be able to avoid roadway accidents.

Hearing Loss

If an older person has trouble hearing, they may miss warning sounds, car horns, and emergency sirens.

Poor Eyesight

Eyesight naturally diminishes with age, and older drivers are more likely to have trouble seeing at night and in bright sunlight. Additionally, they may develop eye diseases that make it more difficult to see the road, such as cataracts.


Many medications or combinations of prescriptions that elders take can cause side effects such as drowsiness, lightheadedness, or inattention—qualities that can severely impact driving ability.


Stiff muscles and joints can make it more difficult for older adult drivers to grip the steering wheel, turn their head to look for oncoming traffic, or brake quickly when needed.

Common Causes of Car Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers

Car accidents involving elderly drivers can be caused by the same conditions as car accidents involving younger drivers, but age-related risk factors can create unique circumstances leading to a crash, such as the following:

  • Braking unexpectedly or suddenly
  • Failing to brake quickly enough
  • Driving through a stop sign or red light
  • Mixing up the gas and brake pedals
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Driving at dusk, dawn, or nighttime
  • Driving erratically
  • Misjudging stopping or following distances
  • Driving the wrong way on a road

However the crash was caused, it’s important to remember that setting up a successful car accident claim involves showing who was responsible for the crash. A qualified legal team can assist you in determining the cause of the crash.

What to Do After a Car Accident Caused by an Elderly Driver

After getting into a crash caused by an elderly driver, you may think your lawsuit is cut and dry: The older person’s age is proof of negligence, right? However, that isn’t the case. A driver’s age does not automatically determine liability.

The law is not on your side just because the other driver was elderly. As in all car accident cases, you need evidence to show that the other driver acted negligently. An experienced car accident lawyer will collect the proof you need to build a strong lawsuit, analyze all evidence, determine who or what caused the accident, and be your advocate in settlement negotiations or, if needed, in the courtroom.

Contact an Elderly Driver Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident involving an elderly driver, don’t hesitate to contact the Indianapolis car accident attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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