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Old Jun 10, 11, 8:05 am   #1
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driving with a cast - legal?

Just had a non-healing fracture in my ankle casted yesterday, and heard something from the cast tech that made me wonder. I hope someone here might have further clarification on the topic.

Cast tech told me to drive very carefully because if I am pulled over or in an accident, because I have a cast on my ankle, I will be presumed to be at fault/guilty of an infraction.

The cast is on my left ankle, I drive an automatic and the cast in no way interferes with my driving. I'm not on pain pills or any medication which might alter my ability to drive.

Has anyone ever heard of a law presuming guilt/fault because of a cast, or did this woman just have a vivid imagination? I live in Pennsylvania, FWIW.
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Old Jun 10, 11, 10:04 am   #2
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I drive a car with automatic as well. When my left leg was very badly injured I was advised not to drive as I would be presumed to be at fault in an accident.

I called my lawyer. A good, ole Texan. He said that if I had anything of value that could be gotten in a law suit, not to drive.

I didn't drive until I was well into recovery and the PT people cleared me to do so.

Your decision has to be based on how much risk you can handle.
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Old Jun 10, 11, 10:11 pm   #3
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Interesting to see that the cast tech wasn't making things up, but puzzling, too. I was nearly rear-ended on the way home yesterday - I was at a red light and a woman talking on her cell phone (not legal to do here) nearly didn't stop in time right behind me. I've been pondering how, if there had been an accident, it could possibly be presumed to be my fault because of the cast. Perhaps a question for a lawyer, but one I hope I won't need the answer to.

Unfortunately not driving for 3 weeks isn't an option for me.
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Old Jun 12, 11, 3:54 pm   #4
 
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I would say consult your own lawyer and ask specific scenarios (like the nearly being rear ended) and see what they say. I quick google search didn't really return a definite answer either way.
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Old Jun 13, 11, 6:31 am   #5
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Just had a non-healing fracture in my ankle casted yesterday, and heard something from the cast tech that made me wonder. I hope someone here might have further clarification on the topic.

Cast tech told me to drive very carefully because if I am pulled over or in an accident, because I have a cast on my ankle, I will be presumed to be at fault/guilty of an infraction.

The cast is on my left ankle, I drive an automatic and the cast in no way interferes with my driving. I'm not on pain pills or any medication which might alter my ability to drive.

Has anyone ever heard of a law presuming guilt/fault because of a cast, or did this woman just have a vivid imagination? I live in Pennsylvania, FWIW.
1. Consult your lawyer about the specific facts of your situation in your state.

2. Sounds as though your doc and your friend's counsel are providing practical advice, not based on a specific rule of law, but experience.

Toughest one for you to evaluate is the distinct likelihood that the advice you get is that there is no per se rule of law which makes you liable, simply that there is a much greater chance of being determined liable. You also need to determine whether your insurance carrier would determine that your conduct, that is, driving against the advice of your medical professional, frees it from coverage responsibility.

Ultimately, you have to determine the risk tolerance you have and it sounds as though you already know the answer to that.
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Old Jun 18, 11, 8:43 am   #6
 
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I drive with hand controls. Will I be presumed at fault in an accident? Maybe I should stop driving?

Do you see where this is leading? If presumed at fault then I have no choice but to fight it in court, because I'm going to keep on driving.
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Old Jun 23, 11, 7:34 pm   #7
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You have training and experience!

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Originally Posted by DeafFlyer View Post
I drive with hand controls. Will I be presumed at fault in an accident? Maybe I should stop driving?

Do you see where this is leading? If presumed at fault then I have no choice but to fight it in court, because I'm going to keep on driving.
DeafFlyer, you know what you are doing! When my leg was newly in shambles, I had neither training in driving in such condition or experience.

Big difference!

I also had a hard time getting into and out of the car in addition to looking awful. Truly awful!

Things have improved and now I look only moderately awful.
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Old Jun 24, 11, 8:14 am   #8
 
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DeafFlyer, you know what you are doing! When my leg was newly in shambles, I had neither training in driving in such condition or experience.

Big difference!

I also had a hard time getting into and out of the car in addition to looking awful. Truly awful!

Things have improved and now I look only moderately awful.
That's a good point. I did have to go through training. Actually, I didn't have to. I voluntarily sought training. I knew whether I could do it without training or not. I think it's pretty similar. Someone with a cast would have to honestly evaluate whether they could drive with it or seek out help(training, driver, etc...), or just don't drive. Whichever works best. The problem is that most seemingly can not self evaluate whether they can drive safely or not. If you've got a cast, you owe it to everyone to be honest about it.

However, even with training, I think that there will still be assumptions about fault due to use of hand controls. I doubt it would be different than with a cast.

I'm glad that you only look moderately awful.

Wait a sec! I meant that I'm glad things are improving.
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Old Jun 24, 11, 12:47 pm   #9
 
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I agree with consulting an attorney, but is the "issue" here having a cast on one's leg or would any cast be an issue. I broke my wrist recently and have a cast on my left arm - I'm right handed and drive a car with an automatic transmission. The OP has me thinking...
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Old Jun 25, 11, 1:38 pm   #10
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That's a good point. I did have to go through training. Actually, I didn't have to. I voluntarily sought training. I knew whether I could do it without training or not. I think it's pretty similar. Someone with a cast would have to honestly evaluate whether they could drive with it or seek out help(training, driver, etc...), or just don't drive. Whichever works best. The problem is that most seemingly can not self evaluate whether they can drive safely or not. If you've got a cast, you owe it to everyone to be honest about it.

However, even with training, I think that there will still be assumptions about fault due to use of hand controls. I doubt it would be different than with a cast.

I'm glad that you only look moderately awful.

Wait a sec! I meant that I'm glad things are improving.
I appreciate the humor.

Really!

I have learned a lot from your postings on FT and thank you for that.

The part of this whole injury thing that I was not prepared for is FATIGUE! Horrible fatigue that sets in when trying to do the most normal of things like work. Traveling has been very difficult as well.

No one can predict how much improvement I will get with the injured leg, but I do hope the fatigue situation improves.

In a recent photo I look old, tired and puffy. Will try to improve on all of those. The look on my face says exactly how I felt at the moment. Weary!

The whole process has been very educational. Perhaps I will get something out of it I can use in future.
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Old Jun 25, 11, 5:36 pm   #11
 
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I appreciate the humor.

Really!

I have learned a lot from your postings on FT and thank you for that.

The part of this whole injury thing that I was not prepared for is FATIGUE! Horrible fatigue that sets in when trying to do the most normal of things like work. Traveling has been very difficult as well.

No one can predict how much improvement I will get with the injured leg, but I do hope the fatigue situation improves.

In a recent photo I look old, tired and puffy. Will try to improve on all of those. The look on my face says exactly how I felt at the moment. Weary!

The whole process has been very educational. Perhaps I will get something out of it I can use in future.
I wish I could say the fatigue goes away, but I can't. For me, at least, it has been a problem. I don't think everyone has a fatigue problem, but I sure do. I can work for a day or two but then I need several days to recover. I'm not sure why it happens to me. I'm not much help with that, but I feel for you. Hope things get better.
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Old Jun 26, 11, 8:56 am   #12
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thanks for your good wishes!

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I wish I could say the fatigue goes away, but I can't. For me, at least, it has been a problem. I don't think everyone has a fatigue problem, but I sure do. I can work for a day or two but then I need several days to recover. I'm not sure why it happens to me. I'm not much help with that, but I feel for you. Hope things get better.
Able bodied people have no idea what fatigue is when related to a body part that isn't working properly.

People tell me to try harder. In this heat in Texas! I am looking forward to cooler weather.

Travel is much more difficult than I ever could have imagined. I also have been advised that I need to 'be a good sport'. Oh, you bet! I'm in the mood to be a good sport.

I have a much greater understanding of what others are dealing with, but I could have lived without the lesson.

I have been shown incredible kindness by people with greater problems than I have. Sometimes a knowing smile does a great deal of good. A smile that says 'I understand'.
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Old Jun 26, 11, 9:12 am   #13
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I drive with hand controls. Will I be presumed at fault in an accident? Maybe I should stop driving?

Do you see where this is leading? If presumed at fault then I have no choice but to fight it in court, because I'm going to keep on driving.
No, you won't likely be presumed to be at fault (although I would certainly consult my lawyer). That is because you presumably have an operator/driver's license limited to hand controls. Same thing for a person who requires glasses to pass vision test, gets a limited license. Your insurance company knows this and all is likely well.

In the case of a person with a short term disability such as a cast, this is not the case and neither licensing authority nor insurance company know of the situation. OP doesn't post (and should not) the specifics of his/her policy, but it's almost a certainty that it requires OP to notify the company of any change of circumstance, likely same thing for licensing authority.

Why all of this? Because you presumably were trained and learned how to drive with hand controls. You are neither a safer nor unsafer driver because of the situation. On the other hand, if you woke up one morning and were told that for the next 3-6 weeks you would have to drive a vehicle differently equipped than anything you have ever used before, it would take an adjustment.

None of us know the exact nature of the temporary issues which a cast cause to OP and that's why the advice OP got from the casting technician probably doesn't count as legal advice, but it's from someone with experience who probably is answering OP's question.
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Old Jun 26, 11, 2:15 pm   #14
 
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Those are good points.

I still think the OP has little to worry about, since the cast is on the left foot, and they drive a car with an automatic tranny. Consulting a lawyer certainly won't hurt though.
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Old Jun 26, 11, 7:51 pm   #15
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None of us know the exact nature of the temporary issues which a cast cause to OP and that's why the advice OP got from the casting technician probably doesn't count as legal advice, but it's from someone with experience who probably is answering OP's question.
Actually I did state in the original post the nature of the problem - non-healing fracture of the ankle. But, glory be, the cast is now off and we're down to an ace wrap on the ankle without a traffic accident while casted.

oldpenny16 and DeafFlyer: I know exactly what you mean about fatigue, and how debilitating it is. I've been dealing with this ankle problem since Feb. 5 and I feel like I've gotten nothing done for 5 months, just kind of trying to survive a lot of days.
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