A 89-year-old woman was struck and killed by an out-of-control car while she was standing in her own yard off North Main Street in Danville, Virginia (VA). The car had been knocked off the road by another driver who made a negligent and unsafe lane change.
The fatal chain-reaction crash occurred shortly after 10 am on March 24, 2016. Police charged the 90-year-old driver who initiated the collision with failure to maintain proper control. She was also cited for not having liability insurance. Section 46.2-707 of the Code of Virginia makes it a class 3 misdemeanor to drive without an active insurance policy that includes minimum coverages of
- $25,000 for the bodily injury or death of one person,
- $50,000 for the bodily injury or death of two or more persons and
- $20,000 for property damage
Drivers can also pay a $500 fee to the state each year in lieu of getting insured, but doing that can still leave them subject to penalties if they cause an accident and injure or kill someone.
This wreck in Danville raises several questions regarding elderly drivers and uninsured motorists. Anyone over the age 75 who wants a Virginia driver's license must pass vision, medical and road tests. At 90, the driver who caused this deadly crash may have lacked the eyesight, strength and general health necessary to operate a vehicle safely. While police did not note any that in their official report, such considerations must always be in the minds of older Virginians and their family members. Erring on the side of safety is recommended when making the difficult decision to surrender or take away car keys.
The lack of insurance is of paramount concern for the children of the deceased pedestrian. A best case scenario would be that the at-fault driver has personal financial resources sufficient to cover funeral expenses and other costs inflicted by her unsafe actions. If that is not the case, the surviving family members may be able to make claims against the uninsured motorist provisions of their own insurance policies. In either scenario, they should consider consulting with an experienced Virginia wrongful death attorney who will work on their behalf to ensure they receive the compensation or settlements they need to avoid being financially harmed by the crash.