Who Is Liable in My Car Accident if the Driver is Disabled?

Madeleine Jones
June 18, 2019

Car accident liability typically depends on the fault status of each driver. While sometimes it’s obvious whether one party is more to blame than another at the scene of an accident, sometimes additional factors come into play that could change the trajectory of a claim. This is the case when faced with a disabled driver and/or restricted driver. If you have been in an accident involving a disabled or restricted driver, contact our car accident attorney in Las Vegas.

What Are Disabled/Restricted Drivers?

A disabled driver is one who possesses any range of disability while still maintaining safe driving practices. However, disabled drivers differentiate from restricted drivers in that they require some form of accommodation to operate their vehicle safely. For example, a driver who does not have complete control over their legs might use hand-operated controls in place of brake and gas pedals.

The DMV often places restricted drivers in the same group with disabled drivers. Though the state allows these drivers to legally operate their vehicles without accommodation, the DMV usually restricts their licenses, much like they do with teenaged drivers.

Special Cases of Negligence

Disabled and restricted drivers have specific restrictions and/or safety practices that they must adhere to according to their unique circumstances. Although disabled and restricted drivers must obey all traffic laws, to begin with, they must also remember to obey their additional restricted guidelines. Lack of adherence to these special rules can result in additional negligence charges.

If the DMV requires a disabled driver to utilize a specific tool to help them drive, they must always use this tool. If a driver forgets or refuses to use this aid, they are being negligent. Their lack of consideration for others’ safety is in question when situations like this arise.

Car modifications are an additional aspect of negligence that falls under proper vehicle maintenance. Disabled drivers must keep the altered parts of their car within safe standards, checked over by a professional mechanic. Some do-it-yourself enthusiasts might try to rig their car themselves, and though this may initially seem functional, it can cause serious problems in the future. If an altered car part contributes to an accident in any way, the driver’s negligence could result in charges because they did not follow through with the DMV’s requirement for a professional installment of car additives.

What if the Disabled Driver Is At-Fault?

If a disabled driver is at fault, their condition does not impose any restrictions on the forms of legal action you can pursue. Disabled and restricted drivers are still registered drivers. This means they must still possess the minimum insurance required in their state and follow the same post-accident guidelines that you do. If a disabled driver hits your car, the claims process remains the same. In states that practice comparative fault, the state evaluates both parties to determine their respective percentages of fault.

In fact, some might argue the disabled driver is at more of a disadvantage when it comes to negligence law. Disabled and restricted drivers have their own additional set of rules to follow. Simply forgetting to adhere to one of these rules could add on to their fault percentage. Moreover, repairing cars with disability-related adjustments could be difficult to negotiate with the insurance company.

Disabled drivers live not only with their disability but with the sanctions and safety protocols that they must abide by outside of the general population. However, many of these additions become second nature with time, the same way an individual might forget they are wearing glasses after using them all day. When addressing a collision with a disabled/restricted driver, remember nothing that legally prohibits you from continuing, in the same manner, you would with any other type of driver. All drivers abide by the same laws and follow the same legal processes. If you have any questions about accidents involving disabled drivers, contact J. Cogburn Law today.