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 Austin_MaestroSpeaking to your aging parents about driving is something you may have been avoiding. You have an idea that your parents shouldn’t be on the road, but broaching the subject can be difficult. Independence is important as we age, and the thought of asking anyone to give up a bit of their freedom can be hard to do. Here are signs that will help you decide when is the right time to have “the talk.”

  1. Several close calls are a clue that it may be time to hang up the keys. It isn’t unusual for people to have near misses or close calls, but when those instances become increasingly common, it’s a sign that there needs to be a discussion about continued driving.
  2. If your parents or aging loved ones frequently get lost when they are in familiar territory, they are posing a danger to themselves.
  3. As we age, we begin to not exactly lose our sight, but lose our clarity of vision. Even with eyeglasses, night vision can be impaired. If you notice an elderly loved one squinting, rubbing their forehead or eyes, or frequently blinking when they drive, have a talk about their eye health and true ability to drive safely.
  4. When we get older, our reaction time slows. Pay attention when you are driving with your aging loved one. Notice how long it takes them to respond to normal traffic situations. If their response time seems slower than normal, it may be time to take the keys away.
  5. Physical conditions can make it hard to drive properly. Your loved one may have stiff joints or arthritis that can make it painful to drive effectively. If you notice that your parent is having a difficult time turning around or even moving their foot from one pedal to the other, driving is no longer safe.

There is nothing that says that any of these warning signs means an end to driving forever, but it should bring rise to a discussion. At the very least, your loved one should be examined by a doctor to be sure that they have no physical condition that is impairing their ability to drive safely. Another option is to enroll your parent in a driver-improvement course designed specifically for the elderly population.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, call our offices today. Our personal injury attorneys will review you case at no charge and advise you how to proceed. Call now.

 

As we age, we begin to worry that our driving skills will not be as sharp as they once were. We may even be pressured by family members to stop driving altogether. As we become older drivers, there are things we can do to ensure that we are keeping ourselves and other safe on the road.

Physical Activity

By remaining physically active, you retain your strength and flexibility. It is easier for you to control the steering wheel, move your head to look over your shoulder, and make other movements necessary for driving. Try to include physical activity in your routine each day.

Hearing and Vision Screenings

Stay up to date with your vision and hearing screenings. These senses decline with age, and the sooner your doctor detects changes, the sooner you can be treated. Ask your doctor for the proper interval for your checkups and stick to them.

Chronic Conditions

If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, make sure that it is properly managed. Follow your doctor’s instructions as they pertain to keeping your condition under control. Ask your doctor to explain the effect that any of your medications may have on your ability to drive safely.

Be Aware of Your Limitations

Know your limitations. When you can no longer move as you once could, do not be ashamed. Aging happens to everyone. As our bodies start to decline, we may need assistance. Your doctor may be able to refer you to an occupational or physical therapist. That professional may be able to recommend assistive devices that will help you drive safely.

Drive During the Day

Night vision declines as we get older. Try to drive after dusk as little as possible. Drive when the weather is pleasant and the sun is out. When the weather is poor, consider using public transportation or asking a friend or family member for a ride.

There is nothing that says you have to automatically give up your right to drive simply because you get older. When you follow the tips above, you will stay on the road for as long as possible and as safely as is necessary.

If you have been injured in a car accident, call our offices today. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you. Call now for a free consultation.

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Every person wants to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. Very few people like to rely on others for their needs, especially when it comes to transportation. As we age, driving can become more dangerous due to declining vision and cognitive function.

If you are a senior, or you are wondering how to keep your elderly relative safe on the roads, this article is for you. Read on to discover how to stay safe as you transport yourself around town.

Seniors at Risk

Statistics tallied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that there is an increased rate of fatal crashes once people hit the age of 70. The incidents continue to rise with age, and the highest rate of fatalities occurs among those drivers who are 85 and older. Surprisingly, these accidents are not attributed to a declining ability to drive safely, but to the heightened risk of injury and medical complications among the elderly.

While vision impairments and decreased cognitive function are not a cause of death, they are reasons for a decline in the driving abilities of some Americans. Of those seniors that die in auto accidents, males are more highly represented than females.

Steps to Take

Senior drivers should operate their vehicles only in optimal conditions. This includes avoiding driving during rain or snow storms, and only driving during daylight hours.

Always review prescription medications and any supplements taken with a doctor. Some of these things can cause side effects that have a negative impact on one’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Plan a route ahead of time and use a GPS when there is a tendency to get confused or lost. Planning a route helps avoid any wrong turns.

Distracted driving is dangerous for people of any age. Avoid using a smartphone, eating, listening to loud music, or any performing any other activity which impairs the ability to keep both eyes on the road.

Elderly drivers should arrange for alternative transportation when driving themselves poses a danger to themselves or others. Rides from friends or family and public transportation are excellent options.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, you may have a right to compensation. Contact our offices as soon as possible to discuss your case. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to review your case and give you advice. First consultations are always free. Call now.

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download (95)A collision between a car and a truck on Highway 601 near Baucom Deese Road in Union County early Friday morning has left an elderly woman dead. According to authorities, Geneva Murray Ennis, 84, ran a red light and was hit by a pickup truck. The victim was declared dead at the scene of the accident. The driver of the truck was uninjured. There are no charges pending for the driver of the pickup truck.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that is when you need an attorney to give you sound advice. Before you talk to an insurance claims adjuster or anyone else after an accident, call the offices of Auger & Auger. We will do everything we can to help you to recover the cost of your medical treatment and ongoing care, loss of work from time off the job, damages, pain and suffering and even wrongful death.

At Auger & Auger, we are focused in all areas of both accident and personal liability law.   Our attorneys know just what needs to be done in a personal injury or accident case.  Have someone on your side that will fight for fairness and get you the settlement you deserve. Call us today for a free initial consultation about your case.

download (35)In most vehicle crashes, someone survives to tell the tale about what happened.  There are observers, witnesses, even if it’s simply a camera that was placed near the intersection.  In this case, there are no forthcoming reasons for explanations.

James and Kate, married and 94, were driving near the 800 block of West Charlotte Avenue in Mount Holly.  It was an idyllic day, no rain, probably a little chilly, but nothing out of the ordinary.

It was, however, the day for both of them.  Something made the car go out of control, and their car slid down an embankment.  Something made them veer off the road and land in a creek.

Unfortunately, the injuries that they sustained were too much, as they succumbed to those injuries at the scene of the accident, taking two legends away.  Our thoughts go out to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Sometimes, we’re destined not to know the real reasons behind the crash, just to know that two people who were married longer than most people have been alive were killed.

If you’ve been involved in a car crash or your vehicle accidentally veered off the road and out of your control, please give us a call here at Auger and Auger.  We receive justice for you.

Sepp Vei via Wikimedia CommonsA single engine plane was landing at the Taylorsville Airport when it clipped a 74-year-old man mowing the landing strip lawn.  The plane severed the man’s hand as a result of the incident.

The accident could have been much worse.  The plane and mower flipped after impact.  The plane and the pilot were not hurt as a result.  A helicopter transported the man from the mower to Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem for treatment.

Smaller airports rely on flying by sight instead of being cleared to land.  In this case the pilot from Tennessee circled the airport prior to landing, but he did not see the man on the mower until it was too late.  Both the plane and the lawnmower were traveling in the same direction which means the man on the mower never saw the plane until it hit him.

In an accident such as this, the man on the mower has a strong claim for the personal injuries caused as a result of the accident. He may have recovery through workers’ compensation and the liability insurance carried by the pilot of the plane.  Recovery for injuries like this one would potentially include reimbursement for medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of income and payment for a permanent partial disability.

Accidents usually happen because someone was careless.  If there is an instance where two or more people are careless and it results in an accident, the people responsible share in compensation for the claim.  In this case, both the airport and the pilot would most likely be liable.  It is up to insurance companies to determine which party pays what percent to the victim.

If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to speak to someone that understands the laws that surround legal liability.  It is not enough to think or say it was someone else’s fault.  You must be able to prove that someone was careless when they should not have been and because of their carelessness, you were injured.  We have the resources to help you prove liability.  Establishing negligence and legal liability is the first step in any personal injury claim.

We at Auger & Auger understand how accidents disrupt lives.  If you were involved in an accident let us help you build a strong claim against the parties responsible.  Call us today.

An elderly Florida woman killed three people and seriously injured four more as she tried to back out of a handicapped parking space. As the 79 year old woman was trying exit the parking lot, she put her vehicle in reverse and accelerated backwards, hitting a group of seven elderly women before she jumped a curb, backed over some small trees, and ended up partially submerged in a creek. Neither she nor her passenger was injured. According to news sources, one person died at the scene and two died at an area hospital. The four injured churchgoers are in serious condition.

This tragedy hit the small community hard; as the Pastor tries to comfort his congregation and the victims’ families, the 79 year old woman who killed and injured so many is likely dealing with feelings of guilt for failing to put her vehicle in drive before accelerating. Perhaps Florida law is also to blame for this accident. Florida law requires that drivers 80 years of age and older pass a vision test and renew their licenses every 6 years, rather than every 8 years as is required of younger drivers. Some experts argue that the law does not go far enough. University of Florida’s Institute on Aging director Dr. Marco Pahor believes that vision is not the only impairment that should be tested. Other age-related factors, such as cognitive impairments, hearing impairments, and physical impairments all have an effect on a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Furthermore, elderly drivers are more likely to be taking multiple prescribed medications which can affect their ability to drive safely. It is also possible that the family members of the 79 year old woman could have taken action to prevent her from driving. Florida law allows for the confidential reporting of unsafe driving by anyone, including a doctor, a police officer, a relative, or even a bystander. This means that before this 79 year old woman plowed through 7 pedestrians, a relative could have reported prior instances of unsafe driving to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHS&MV). Upon receipt of a complaint questioning the safety of an elderly driver, the DHS&MV will require a re-examination prior to renewing a driver’s license. The test consists of interviewing the driver, and can also include a written test and a vision test.

This is a problem that is not going away. While statistics show that elderly drivers are not as dangerous as teen drivers, demographics are changing. In 2011, there were 28.5 million Americans over 70. That figure is expected to balloon to 52.7 million by 2030. Making it more difficult for the elderly to keep their license is something very few politicians will want to touch. In fact, some may consider it political suicide because the size of the elderly voting population.

As for the elderly driver, authorities are investigating whether or not to file charges. The families of all seven victims may be able to file a civil suit against the elderly driver for negligence. At Auger & Auger, we offer our condolences to those hurt or killed in this tragedy, along with their family, friends, and the congregation. If you were injured or lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence, call us today to discuss your rights and options. We hope to provide you with peace of mind in the face of your ordeal.

In the early hours of a week day morning, a retired man from North Carolina crossed the center line and collided with an SUV, first grazing a tractor trailer and then hitting the SUV straight on. Both the man and driver of the SUV died at the scene of the accident. The man was driving the wrong way on Interstate 26, and it is believed that he was confused about several things, including his direction of travel. The driver had been experiencing several health problems prior to the collision and may have left early to go to a doctor’s office.

Blurry vision drivingThe sudden death of a loved one leaves family members with a lot of financial strain on top of the natural grieving process. Car accident deaths, like the one described above, can leave family members scrambling to find money for funeral expenses, medical expenses (if the family member was seen by a doctor after the accident, prior to the death), and household bills. Finding compensation that you might be entitled to under your family member’s policy to help relieve some of the financial burdens can become a difficult process. Insurance adjusters may offer a quick settlement to a family member during this vulnerable time, and the full compensation that would be owed under the policy may not be awarded.

In North Carolina, automobile insurance policies offer compensation for bodily injury and property damage under the mandatory coverage. If the person who caused the accident was negligent, then the injured person or the family members of the the deceased can file a claim against the at-fault’s insurance policy. If the at-fault’s party does not have insurance or the coverage available fails to meet the expenses, then the injured or deceased’s policy can possibly be used. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may be available, depending on whether the policy holder kept the mandatory uninsured coverage.

A possible challenge is if the deceased is found to be partially negligent in any way. North Carolina follows the legal concept of contributory negligence, which completely bars recovery if the party seeking damages is negligent in any way. Other states follow a much less severe precedent called comparative negligence. Under that legal theory as long as the party filing suit is 49% or less negligent, they can still recover from the other party. However, the amount of damages may be reduced by the percentage of their own negligence.

Herbert and Arlene Auger are North Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys who practice across the State of North Carolina, fighting aggressively for clients who have been injured or had a family member killed as a result of an auto accident. The attorneys of Auger & Auger know how to negotiate with insurance companies and litigate injury and wrongful death cases so your compensation is maximized. If you have been injured in a car accident or have had a family member killed because of an auto collision, then call our office at 888.487.0835 for a free, confidential consultation.

Related Blog Posts:

Pedestrians and Cyclists Are No Match For Any Kind of Vehicle, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 10, 2012

What You Should Know About Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 27, 2012

Interstate Sign

A family of five from Boone, Burke County, North Carolina, survived a wrong-way crash near Savannah, Georgia. The accident happened on Thursday, January 3, 2013 on I-95. Two cars were involved and seven people were injured in what could have been an even more devastating collision.

Investigating officers have released a statement advising that the collision occurred slightly before noon on Thursday. Apparently Virgil Hicks, 83, the driver of a 2007 Buick Lucerne and his wife from Statesboro, Mary Hicks, 82, were traveling the wrong-way in the northbound lanes of the interstate when he hit an SUV. The Honda SUV was being driven by Sarah Miller, 41. Her entire family was with her at the time, including her husband Vachel Miller, 43, Galen Miller, 10, Sidra Miller, 8 and Caspian Miller, 6.

Officers concluded that Hicks became confused and was attempting to get to an exit, when he turned across the interstate and struck the Honda SUV at the entrance of the exit ramp.

Virgil Hicks was in critical condition and his wife, Mary, was listed in stable condition at the Memorial University Medical Center. It was later reported that Virgil Hicks passed away on Sunday, January 6, 2013.

The most seriously injured member of the Miller family was their son Galen, 10, who underwent surgery on Friday morning. He remained hospitalized following his surgical procedure at Memorial University Medical Center. The hospital reported that the injuries to other family members were serious but not life threatening.

Vachel Miller is an assistant professor of education at the Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Appalachian State University is consistently ranked among the top 15 southern regional universities. The Dean of the Reich College of Education, Dr. Charles Duke, extended thoughts and prayers from the university to the Miller family for a speedy recovery and a safe return home.

Interstate collisions come in all sizes and different levels of severity. Unfortunately, they usually happen in the blink of an eye without time to react, until it’s too late. To further increase the odds of serious or fatal accidents on interstates, posted speed limits are 65 miles per hour up to as much as 80 miles per hour in some states.

For wrong-way crashes, drivers sometimes have time to take evasive action if they see a car or truck coming in their direction far enough in advance. However, if you meet another vehicle at the crest of an overpass going in the opposite direction, the results are horrific. Wrong-way crashes are often caused by drunk drivers. Other times, they can be the result of confusion by an elderly driver like Mr. Hicks.

Regardless of the facts surrounding a wrong-way crash, if you or a family member have suffered devastating injuries or lost a loved one in such an accident, you need to seek the advice of a North Carolina attorney experienced in handling serious personal injury and wrongful death cases.

Auger & Auger is a Charlotte, North Carolina law firm that handles nothing but a variety of serious personal injury cases. For over 40 years we have devoted 100% of our practice to this area of the law.

Contact us online or call our office at (704) 364-3361 for a free consultation. For contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call us toll free at (800) 559-5741.

With us, you will never owe a fee unless we get a settlement for you.

Other Resources:

Boone family injured after SUV struck by wrong-way driver, WSOC TV, Article by Dave Faherty, January 4, 2013

Elderly Ga. man injured in wrong-way crash dies, 11 Alive News, January 8, 2013

Related Blog Posts:

At What Age Should People Stop Driving?, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, September 10, 2012

Recently Released Data Confirms Benefits of Safety Restraints For Drivers of All Kinds of Vehicles, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 31, 2012

Senior couple holding hands

Over the last month, accidents involving elderly drivers have made headlines, raising the ongoing debate about when people are too old to drive. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys know that accidents can happen regardless of the ages of the drivers involved, but they are also aware of the statistics revealing diminished driving abilities as we age.

On August 30, 2012, it was reported that a 100 year old man in Los Angeles, California lost control while backing out of his driveway and reversed his car into a crowd of elementary school children and their parents. The accident occurred around 2:30 p.m. after classes at a nearby school had been dismissed. The Los Angeles Police investigation revealed that the driver, Preston Carter, will turn 101 in September 2012. When questioned by authorities about why he backed over the curb,down the sidewalk, and into the crowd, Mr. Carter said his car experienced some type of mechanical failure.

Although there were screams from the crowd, the driver said he never heard anything as he backed down the sidewalk. Nine children and two adults sustained injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital. Police did not initially file any charges, but were considering Mr. Carter’s competency to continue having a driver’s license.

On September 3, 2012, an elderly driver in Hubert, North Carolina pulled out of a Dollar General parking lot in front of a motorcycle, seriously injuring the husband and wife who were riding it. Michael Carter, 45, and his wife, Dorothy, 50, from Clinton, North Carolina were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Onslow Memorial. She suffered various injuries including a broken arm. He remained hospitalized in serious condition, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

An investigation revealed that Pearl Robinson, 90, from Hubert, pulled her 2004 Cadillac out into the pathway of the Carters’ Harley Davidson motorcycle, causing it to strike the car. Trooper Merritt said that the car’s driver was cited for failing to yield right-of-way to the motorcycle.

Accidents such as these raise the question: “How old is too old to drive?” Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer to this question because each person is different, both mentally and physically, as they age. Everyone either already has, or will face, telling their parents that they can no longer drive and taking their keys away. This, in turn, causes aging parents to feel as though they have lost yet another marker of independence. The old expression may hold true that “you will know when it is time,” not only for the safety of your loved ones but the safety of others.

According to the AAA Motor Club, elderly drivers most consistently exhibit difficulties driving safely due to vision loss, hearing loss, physical limitations, dementia, diabetes, seizures, sleep disorders, and slowed reaction times. Any of these temporary or permanent medical problems can alter an individual’s ability to drive safely, especially when combined with prescription or over-the-counter medications.

If you or someone you know has been injured because of the negligence of an elderly driver, you should contact an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney to discuss your options.

At Auger & Auger, we know that accidents can happen to drivers of all ages. Simply because a driver is older is no indication that he or she was at fault. Our attorneys have nearly 40 years of experience in handling all types of serious injury cases and we can help determine who is legally responsible for your injuries.

We have five conveniently located offices. Three are in Charlotte and we have offices in Greensboro and Raleigh, as well.

Contact us
for your free confidential consultation. We handle cases on a contingency basis, so you will never have to worry about paying us a fee unless we make a monetary recovery for you.

Other Resources:

100-Year-Old Motorist Backs Into Children Outside Los Angeles School, Reuters, August 30, 2012

Couple Injured In Motorcycle Wreck, Jacksonville Daily News, September 5, 2012

AAA Motor Club/Senior Driving

Related Blog Posts:

AAA Carolinas Study Reveals Safest and Most Dangerous Counties For Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 16, 2012

Eleven People Die From Car Accidents in One Week
, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 18, 2012

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