Involved in a Car Accident With Someone Who Has Dementia

The law is clear: if you are responsible for a car accident, then you are liable for compensation. Missouri is a pure comparative fault state, meaning that all drivers involved in the car accident could potentially be liable if they are all responsible, at least in part, for the collision.

However, in some cases, it’s not a drunk driver, or someone using their phone and not paying attention to the road that may have caused the accident. It could be someone with a genuine medical condition, like dementia. Who pays then?

Understanding What Dementia Is

Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that affects 46.8 million people worldwide. This disease does not hit you all at once – symptoms can be very slow to appear in some cases, taking even years to fully affect a person’s life.

On average, people with dementia can experience:

  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • The trouble with planning or following steps
  • Confusions regarding time and space

People with dementia are sometimes allowed to continue driving. Now, the law doesn’t mandate people to disclose they are suffering from dementia when renewing their license, but doctors do have the option of reporting these drivers if there is a concern their driving may put themselves or others in danger.

In most cases, the person will dementia will get a driving assessment that will show if they are still able to drive or not, and will need to repeat it as their doctor’s recommendation.

Who Pays for Compensation?

This can be a tricky question because it greatly depends on the case at hand. If the person with dementia has permission to drive, then they will be liable through their auto insurance. However, they are also required to disclose to the insurance company that they are suffering from this condition. If they don’t, the insurance company may be able to deny covering the claim because their client breached the contract.

Additionally, it’s also possible for a person with dementia to get behind the wheel even if they are not allowed. This condition can create a lot of confusion, and the person may very well forget they cannot drive anymore and get behind the wheel without their caretaker noticing.

In this case, the person legally responsible for the person with dementia may, therefore, be held liable. Technically, auto insurance coverage does extend to family members, but this situation creates a grey area and it’s possible to have a hard time getting compensated.

What Should You Do?

These cases can be incredibly difficult because you are not dealing with a reckless driver, but with a very sick person. Still, you still have the right to be compensated. Reach out to a St. Louis car accident lawyer to find out what your legal options are.

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