Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death and injury in the United States every year. This reality is of particular concern for the older population. People 65 or older make up a significant portion of vehicular fatalities and injuries. In fact, the older a victim of a motor vehicle accident is, the more likely the injuries incurred will be fatal. These facts become more significant when considering the aging American population. The baby boomer generation is one of the largest in America, and is just beginning to reach the age of 65. As this population ages further, the amount of motor vehicle accident fatalities and injuries can be expected to rise.
As people age, their senses and reflexes begin to deteriorate, leaving them more vulnerable to motor vehicle accidents resulting from negligent drivers. Additionally, because our bodies become more vulnerable as we become older, injuries suffered in auto crashes can be more serious and more difficult to treat. Older victims of auto accidents can expect longer stays in hospitals and more complex medical treatment. Medical costs faced by any victim of a vehicular accident can be very high, but when adding on additional costs associated with more complex medical conditions faced by older people, costs become catastrophic. Further complicating the matter is the likelihood that an older victim of an auto accident has likely retired and is no longer producing income. This can place a heavy financial burden on a victim’s family. Additionally, motor vehicle accidents are more likely to be fatal for older people. Thus, older victims of motor vehicle accidents or their families may be entitled to significant recovery.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010, 13 percent of the total U.S. resident population was age 65 and older. This demographic, made up 17 percent of all traffic fatalities. Accordingly, people age 65 or older, are more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a traffic accident. In total, 5,484 people age 65 or older were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2010. An additional 189,000 people 65 or older were injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2010. Between 2009 and 2010, this age group saw a 3 percent increase in traffic fatalities, indicating that more and more older drivers are being killed in traffic accidents each year.
According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 79 percent of all older occupants of motor vehicles involved in fatal crashes were using safety belts compared to 66 percent of those people 18 to 64 years old. Additionally, of those people involved in fatal car crashes, people age 65 or older had the lowest proportion of total drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher. While older people tend to have more responsible driving habits, they are still more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a motor vehicle accident.
If you or someone you know has been hurt or killed in a motor vehicle accident, call a Coweta County auto accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770)-484-8999 and ask to schedule a free legal consultation.