A Law Career

Car Accident Liability For Disabled Drivers

by Ruby Mckinney

Car accident liability normally depends on the fault status of the drivers involved. Sometimes it is obvious that one driver has a greater share of liability than the other. However, there are cases where additional factors can change the course of a claim. This is the case if you're involved in an accident with a disabled driver. Consult your car accident lawyer to determine the different rules and laws that apply to accidents involving disabled drivers. 

Who Is a Disabled Driver?

A disabled driver is anyone who cannot safely drive a vehicle without special accommodation. For example, drivers who cannot use their legs utilize special hand controls in place of gas and brake pedals. 

A disabled driver will have their disability status indicated in their driver's license. A disabled driver is different from a restricted driver because they require special accommodation to operate their car safely. A restricted driver only has limitations placed on their driver's license.

Special Cases of Negligence

Disabled drivers are required to adhere to specific safety practices and restrictions because of their unique conditions. Like ordinary drivers, they're required to obey all traffic laws. Additionally, they should obey their restricted guidelines. Failing to adhere to these special rules can lead to additional negligence charges.

For example, if the DMV requires disabled drivers to use specific tools when driving, they must do it. Failing or forgetting to use this aid amounts to negligence. Car modifications are another aspect of negligence. 

Disabled drivers are required to maintain the modified parts of their vehicle within safe standards and monitored regularly by a mechanic. If an altered car part causes a car accident because the disabled driver tried to rig the car on their own instead of going to a mechanic, the driver will be charged with negligence.

How to Prove Negligence in an Accident Involving a Disabled Driver

In a car accident involving a disabled driver, the standard of negligence holds just like in other car accidents. A car accident lawyer can help you prove negligence and claim damages. Firstly, your lawyer will prove that the disabled driver had a duty of care. 

Secondly, your lawyer has to prove that the driver breached their duty of care. For example, a breach of duty may involve failing to use an assistive device. Lastly, your car accident lawyer will attribute your injuries to the driver's actions and claim damages.

In some cases, the at-fault driver may defend themselves by claiming their assistive device was defective. For example, if a disabled driver uses a hand-operated vehicle pedal with severe defects, the device's manufacturer will be held liable in a defective product claim, if the device causes an accident.