Are Florida Doctors Liable for Elderly Patients Car Crashes 1

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Are Florida Doctors Liable for Elderly Patients Car Crashes 1

In the next several years, there will be an influx of elderly drivers on the road in Florida and around the country as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age. In fact, a federal report indicates that the number of U.S. drivers over the age of 65 is expected to reach 57 million by 2030, nearly double the number of elderly drivers in 2007.

It is no secret that elderly drivers are more prone to car accidents than their younger counterparts. Old age brings with it potentially-dangerous conditions, such as slowed reflexes, confusion and a lack of alertness. Add in a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or a similar dementia-related ailment and you have a hazardous situation on Ocala roads.

But many elderly people resist giving up their driver's licenses, viewing driving as one of their last true freedoms. As such, family members often hesitate to bring up the topic. So is it the responsibility of doctors to take their elderly patients' licenses away?

That is the question being asked in a new car accident lawsuit that was filed against a doctor in connection with a 2010 car accident caused by his 85-year-old patient. In the suit, the family of a man who was killed in that crash is claiming that the doctor should have initiated the process of taking his patient's driver's license away after prescribing medication to treat her symptoms of dementia. Because he did not do so, the suit claims, the doctor is responsible for the man's death.

We will continue our discussion of this topic in our next blog post.

Source: Los Angeles Times, " Doctor sued over fatal crash by patient with dementia," Jessica Garrison and Alan Zarembo, Sept. 7, 2012

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