Driving allows people with disabilities to live with more independence than they would if they had to rely on other drivers or public transportation. People with disabilities who can drive their own vehicles may have an easier time commuting to work, visiting friends, attending family events, and running errands without help. However, some people with disabilities may only be able to drive adapted vehicles.
Different Kinds of Vehicle Adaptions for People With Disabilities
Vehicle modifications may allow people with disabilities to drive more comfortably and safely. Possible modifications include:
- Swivel seats
- Seat adjusters
- Special seat back cushions
- Hand controls
- Adjustable gas and brake pedals
- High or wide doors
- Larger door handles and knobs
- Support handles to help you get in and out of the car safely
- Large print on the dashboard
- Dashboard mounted ignition (instead of having the ignition mounted on the steering column)
- Self-driving cars
Other modifications based on your unique needs are also possible, and alterations may continue to advance as technology improves. In 2020, an 18-month study funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation began to research the needs of autonomous transportation for people with disabilities so that future modifications can be designed.
Which Car Modifications Do You Need?
Not everyone with a disability will need all of the modifications described above. Whether you are buying a new car outfitted with modifications or adapting a used car, you may consult with a driver rehabilitation specialist to determine what adaptions may work for you and how much they will cost.
A driver rehabilitation specialist will do a full evaluation to determine your current and anticipated future needs. You should expect the driver rehabilitation specialist to evaluate your:
- Muscle strength
- Range of motion
- Reaction time
- Cognitive and decision-making abilities
Once the evaluation is complete, you should receive a report that includes suggested vehicle modifications, driving restrictions, and information about training on the adaptive equipment that is recommended for safe driving.
Adapted Vehicle Car Crash Complications
People driving modified vehicles have the same car accident risks as other drivers. You could be hurt in an accident if, for example, another driver is drowsy, distracted, drunk, speeding, aggressive, or otherwise negligent. Often, the cause of the car crash has nothing to do with your disability or modifications made to your vehicle.
After an accident occurs, your disability and your vehicle may become issues in your case. For example, the other driver may try to argue that:
- Your vehicle modifications caused the accident. The other driver will need evidence to prove that you are at fault for the crash. Modified vehicles are not inherently unsafe.
- You were hurt because of your disability. The negligent driver is responsible for any injuries suffered in the accident, even if your injuries were worse because of your disability.
Sometimes, drivers with disabilities face biases. Insurance companies may try to pay you less than your case is worth.
Drivers With Disabilities Deserve Fair Compensation
You deserve to be treated like any other driver. If someone else’s negligence caused your car crash, you deserve fair compensation for your past and future healthcare expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
Midwest insurers know that the experienced car accident lawyers of Hupy and Abraham mean business. We insist that all of our clients are treated fairly and settlements reflect just compensation for their injuries. If the insurance company is unwilling to reach an equitable settlement, then we will not hesitate to go to court to protect your rights.
Our firm proudly offers free initial consultations and a Win or It’s Free Guarantee! There is no financial risk in reaching out to us after a Wisconsin car crash. Call us, or contact us through this website, today to schedule your free consultation by phone, video conference, at your home, in your hospital room, or our Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, or Wausau office.