A vast amount of individuals are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and it is a recognized medical condition. However, as with all medical conditions, there are limitations that sufferers of this condition experience, and it could impair their ability to drive safely. Therefore, those diagnosed, their parents, and those involved in accidents with people living with ADHD need to understand how this diagnosis plays a role in liability.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a chronic condition that includes an inability to focus, hyperactive behavior, and impulsiveness. This genetic, brain-based syndrome creates an inability to regulate specific brain functions, including executive functioning skills. These essential skills include attention, memory, motivation, effort, concentration, learning from mistakes, social skills, organization, and impulsivity.
According to ADD.org, approximately five percent of adults today have ADHD. ADHD is something that continues through a person’s lifetime and is not “grown out of.” There is no cure for ADHD, and adults may still have challenges later in life, despite medications and re-training.
How Does ADHD Affect a Driver?
ADHD can be dangerous for drivers. Not only does a driver have the inability to focus, but those who have excessive hyperactivity may also have impaired judgment, and they may not adequately assess and avoid risks like the average person would.
This is why researchers feel that ADHD sufferers have a higher accident rate that non-ADHD patients. The combination of symptoms associated with ADHD and the functions required to drive safely increase the likelihood that a person living with ADHD will be in an accident or cause one.
How Does ADHD Play a Role in Liability?
When someone causes an accident, there is the issue of liability. The person who causes the accident will be liable under civil law for all damages caused. In some cases, that person may be liable under criminal law depending on the actions that led to the accident.
A medical condition, including ADHD, is no excuse from liability. Those diagnosed with ADHD are just as liable to a person not diagnosed, because drivers are required to maintain a standard of care on the road; therefore, if they know about their ADHD and know it affects their ability to drive, then they should not drive.
In fact, an ADHD diagnosis only improves the victim’s case, not the defendants.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. If a driver has a medical condition, but he or she is not diagnosed, he or she may be excused from liability. In the case of ADHD, this has yet to be determined. Most individuals are diagnosed with ADHD while in elementary school, but there are adults out there who may not be diagnosed. It is unlikely, however, that a defense attorney would use an undiagnosed ADHD condition to defend reckless driving or excuse liability.
Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident? Contact an Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the accident team at Van Sant Law, LLC. We are here to work as your advocates and ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries and damages. Schedule a free consultation today at 404-575-1901 or request more information through our online contact form.