Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is a medical condition that has received a rapid increase in the number of diagnoses each year. Some of the primary symptoms of this condition include the inability to focus, failure to provide attention, and impulsive behavior. In some cases, a person may experience bouts of rage and depression due to their failure to focus or communicate effectively.
Because there has been an increase in the number of ADHD diagnoses in the country, researchers have been working on looking at the potential risk of ADHD teens and adults behind the wheel. Researchers found that there was an unexpected increase in car accident rates among ADHD-diagnosed teens.
According to SF Gate, learning to drive is especially difficult for teens with ADHD. With an attention disorder, cognitive abilities are impacted, and it can significantly impair a driver.
Young drivers diagnosed with ADHD are two to four times more likely to be in a severe auto accident, which means they are at higher risk of causing an accident than a legally drunk adult driver.
ADHD is More than a Distraction
While ADHD drivers are more prone to distracted behaviors behind the wheel, that is not the only reason they are at high-risk for an accident.
ADHD drivers are prone to inattention, and some may even speed more than teens without ADHD. ADHD drivers are prone to overestimating their skills behind the wheel; therefore, they are more prone to speeding and testing skills they have not refined behind the wheel.
Also, an ADHD teenager is less mature than a teen without ADHD.
Stimulants May Reduce Accidents
Stimulants are often prescribed to children with ADHD to help reduce their inability to focus. These include medications like Adderall and Ritalin. Some researchers believe that if an ADHD teen is going to drive a vehicle, then these medications should not be optional. Also, they recommended extended release formulas for teens who will drive at night.
According to Reuters, 29 percent of those prescribed a medication were less likely to be in an accident. However, this risk only applied to men. Women saw no difference in their risk (medicated or not). That being said, researchers felt that 41 to 49 percent of accidents caused by ADHD men may have been prevented if they were taking the proper medication for their condition.
Bottom line, researchers feel that ADHD teens, and their parents, must consider their limitations and understand that there are risks associated with driving with ADHD.
Liability and ADHD Drivers
If someone causes a motor vehicle collision, they are held liable for damages by a Phoenix personal injury lawyer. While a person with a medical condition, including that of ADHD, might try to argue that their condition excludes them from liability, there is no escape from liability.
If a motor vehicle accident is caused by someone’s negligence or actions, blaming a condition is not a winning defense. Instead, that driver should not be operating a vehicle if their status is going to cause an accident.
Knowing that they have a condition that may cause an accident only further adds to their liability and negligence. Also, the excuse of a condition accusing the accident bolsters the case for the Phoenix personal injury lawyer; not the defense.
If, however, the driver is unaware of their medical condition, then they may have a viable defense. In the case of someone with ADHD, it is likely they have been diagnosed. If they are taking medications for their condition, and it is under control, proving liability becomes more complicated. Also, undiagnosed medical conditions do not bolster the plaintiff’s case. For example, if a driver has a heart condition but is unaware of it, and they cause an accident during a heart attack while driving, they are not negligent.
The law questions if the driver’s condition were foreseeable and if they knew the likelihood they would cause an accident. For example, the driver has had several instances of near-miss accidents because of their inability to focus on the road. In this case, the driver was aware that their condition might cause an accident.
Contact a Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer after an Accident
For those that are injured in a motor vehicle collision that they think resulted from a driver with ADHD or another condition, contacting a personal injury attorney is critical.
An attorney must gather evidence and potentially petition a physician to testify and prove that the driver knew their status was a danger to other vehicles but chose to drive regardless of that knowledge. Also, the attorney will need time to collect evidence and establish that the driver’s condition was the cause of the incident.
For those injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of cause, that was the result of negligence, the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Tobler Law can help. With years of experience handling cases just like this, the accident team is ready to respond quickly and help advocate for their clients right to collect compensation under the law.
Schedule a no obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney in Mesa by calling 480-898-9700 or request more information online.