While California law requires drivers to meet certain vision requirements in order to drive, many visually impaired drivers operate vehicles and cause car crashes. Accidents caused by individuals who may be legally blind or have vision impairments occur more frequently than you might think. In accidents caused by individuals who are blind or have impaired vision, a Los Angeles blind accident attorney can help you to determine whether you are eligible to file a claim for compensation. In some cases, blind or visually impaired drivers may experience deteriorating vision and have failed to update their driver’s licenses during that period. This situation is particularly common among elderly drivers. In other situations, a blind or visually impaired pedestrian may unknowingly cause a crash.
If a blind or visually impaired person should not be behind the wheel of a car due to limited sight and causes a crash, that person may be liable for resulting property damage or injuries. However, not all collisions involving blind or visually impaired persons are that person’s fault. To be clear, negligence can be complicated, and not all blind or visually impaired persons are liable. The following are some frequently asked questions about accidents caused by individuals who are legally blind or have impaired vision.
What Are California’s Vision Requirements for Operating a Motor Vehicle?
To operate a motor vehicle in Los Angeles, California law requires a driver to be able to “see 20/40 with both eyes together, with or without corrective lenses.” If a person fails the vision screening, she or he must see a specialist to determine whether a driver’s license is appropriate and whether the vision impairment is likely to prevent that individual from driving safely.
In some situations, the person ultimately is scheduled for a driving test to determine whether she or he can drive safely. When an individual has particularly poor vision of 20/200 or worse, that person may not be permitted even to schedule a driving test.
To be eligible for a driver’s license, a person must not have significant impairment of any of the following:
- Central vision or visual acuity;
- Peripheral vision;
- Night vision;
- Glare resistance and glare recovery;
- Ability to judge distance; and
- Visual perception.
A driver in California must renew his or her license every five years.
Who is Responsible in a Motor Vehicle Collision Involving a Blind or Visually Impaired Person?
The answer to this question can vary greatly depending upon the specific facts of a case. The following are a number of examples of situations in which a legally blind or visually impaired driver likely will be liable for a crash:
- Driver does not have a valid driver’s license;
- Driver knew that his or her vision deteriorated and that driving would not be safe; and/or
- Driver was not wearing necessary corrective lenses at the time of the crash.
There are many additional scenarios in which a driver with vision impairment may be held responsible for a crash. A car accident lawyer in Los Angeles can say more about liability in an accident involving a legally blind or visually impaired person.
How Often Do Visually Impaired Elderly Drivers Cause Crashes?
Elderly people frequently are responsible for car accidents due to their impaired vision. According to the National Institute on Aging, there are numerous reasons that older adults are at greater risk of causing a traffic collision than younger drivers. One of the most prominent reasons is that the elderly driver is having trouble seeing. Given that eyesight often changes as people get older, and elderly adults begin suffering from eye diseases like glaucoma or cataracts or macular degeneration, a car accident can be more likely. It can be difficult to read signs, glare from headlights or streetlights can make seeing clearly quite difficult, and in some cases, the sun can also result in vision impairment.
Drivers who are 65 or older are recommended to see a doctor annually to determine whether driving is still safe. An elderly adult who knows that she or he should not be driving due to poor vision may be responsible for a collision. A car accident attorney in Los Angeles can say more.
Learn More from a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
Drivers who are legally blind or visually impaired still may get behind the wheel of a car. In some cases, they may have a driver’s license because corrective lenses allow them to see properly. In other situations, driving may be negligent. If you or someone you love got hurt in a collision caused by a driver with vision impairment, you should discuss your case with an LA car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers today to learn more about how a car accident attorney in Los Angeles at our firm can assist you.