Seniors and Car Accidents in California

Can senior citizens recover for the heightened injuries they may suffer in a car accident?

Over 40 million licensed drivers today are over the age of 65.  Senior drivers are at an increased risk of suffering serious injuries in the event of a car accident.  They are also more likely than younger drivers to experience ongoing and debilitating pain after an accident.  Seniors who suffer injuries in an accident may struggle to obtain full compensation due to assertions by the insurance company that their condition was preexisting.  Injured seniors will need the legal assistance of an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney to build the evidence necessary to substantiate their personal injury claim.

Seniors May Face Serious Injuries in a Car Accident

For senior citizens, a car accident can be catastrophic.  While younger accident victims may bounce back from the trauma of a collision rapidly, older adults may find themselves struggling to recover.  Seniors are at an increased risk of broken bones in a crash, and often report considerable declines in physical functioning.  Chronic pain is not uncommon among senior car accident victims.  

The Eggshell Plaintiff in California

California has a law in place to protect seniors and other vulnerable citizens from experiencing rejection of their personal injury claim due to their more fragile state.  In California, the legal theory of the eggshell plaintiff requires that defendants take plaintiffs as they find them.  This means that even if a car accident would not have caused injuries to a younger plaintiff, the defendant cannot escape liability to the vulnerable car accident victim.

Seniors and Prior Conditions

Auto insurance companies will often attempt to dispute a claim by asserting the plaintiff’s injuries were, in fact, a preexisting condition.  For elderly individuals with a lengthy medical history, preexisting conditions can potentially become a significant issue in any car accident case.  In California, a negligent driver can be liable if the crash causes the plaintiff’s preexisting condition to worsen.  It is important that senior car accident victims understand that a preexisting condition will not bar their recovery; rather, the defendant may be liable to pay damages to the full extent of how much the accident caused the condition to worsen.  Consult with a licensed car accident attorney for an evaluation as to your legal rights following any accident.