Determining Fault for Car Accidents with Disabled Drivers

All states allow people with disabilities to obtain a driver’s license. Many drivers, including teens and those with certain disabilities, are issued licenses with certain driving restrictions. If a disabled driver is involved in a car accident, they will be treated just like any driver involved in an accident. That’s because every driver, whether disabled or not, must prove that they would drive safely and responsibly.

Disabled Driver

A disabled driver is a person who is unable to operate a motor vehicle without special accommodation. The term disabled driver refers to a person who has lost at least one limb and requires a special adjustment to operate a car.

Disabled drivers are required to inform the DMV of their disability. A restricted license will be issued, depending on the disability. The vehicle will also be modified to accommodate the disabled driver. A disabled driver will have their disability status notation on their driver’s license.

California Car Accident Basics

In California, responsibility for car accidents is determined by who is “at-fault.” That means that before an auto insurer pays out any money, they must first find who caused the accident.

There are two ways to determine fault: (1) common law negligence and (2) by a statute. The first, common law negligence, requires proof that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care in operating their vehicle. Police reports, witness statements, and other investigatory tools are used to prove the driver’s negligence.

The second way, proving fault through statute, is easier to prove. California lawmakers have already found certain conduct negligent, like speeding. It’s outlined in the California Vehicle Code. If the driver involved in the car accident violates the California Vehicle Code by running through a red light, then the driver will be presumed to be negligent.

Determining Fault for Disabled Drivers

Aside from the two ways to determine fault listed above, a disabled driver will have additional factors to determine negligence. Usually, negligence will hinge on whether the disabled driver complied with their license restrictions.

Disabled and restricted drivers must abide by the restrictions placed on their driving privileges. If they fail to comply with those restrictions, it will be considered a traffic law violation. Any violation of a traffic law amounts to negligence because those laws exist for safety reasons.
For example, if a disabled driver is required to modify their vehicle for safe operation, and the driver failed to use that equipment, that can be a traffic citation. Anyone injured in the accident will be able to use the citation as evidence that the disabled driver was negligent because they failed to comply with required safety requirements.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

The issue of negligence in an auto accident doesn’t end when one party shows that the other was negligent. Even if one party was negligent in California, damages could be reduced if the other party also acted negligently. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation about your specific case.