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Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue

man driving a car tired

Drowsy drivers who get behind the wheel are a common hazard on Alabama roadways and across the United States. Motorists who hit the road when they’re fatigued put themselves and others at grave risk. Our motor vehicle accident lawyers at Moore Law Firm have more than 35 years of experience in handling driver fatigue injury claims. Proving negligence in these types of cases can be difficult. If you’ve been injured in an accident you believe was caused by a drowsy driver, we can investigate your claim and help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries.

The Dangers Of Driver Fatigue

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. The more fatigued a driver is, the slower their reaction time becomes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about 91,000 crashes involved drowsy driving each year, resulting in nearly 800 fatalities and 50,000 injuries in 2017. The effects of sleep deprivation can be deadly, and include:

  • Impaired judgment, coordination, and perception
  • Decreased reaction time
  • Increased aggression
  • Driver inattention
  • Drifting out of your lane or off the road
  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Yawning and heavy eyelids
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel

Injuries Sustained In Drowsy Driving Accidents

If a driver drifts off they can lose control and cause serious auto accidents that lead to injuries such as:

  • Head, skull, and neck injury
  • Spinal injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Paralysis
  • Broken or crushed bones
  • Amputation
  • Facial scarring and disfigurement

These types of catastrophic injuries may require lengthy hospital stays, countless doctor visits, surgeries, rehabilitation and physical therapy, costly home modifications, and long-term care. Although no amount of money can reverse your injuries or take away your physical and emotional pain, it’s critical to seek the counsel of an attorney who is familiar with handling drowsy driving accident cases to ensure your claim is accurately valued and to recover maximum compensation.

Types Of Drowsy Driving Accidents

Crashes caused by driver fatigue can happen any time, but most often occur between 12:00 am and 6:00 am or in the late afternoon. They happen on rural roadways and usually involve just a single vehicle that runs off the road. Driver fatigue often leads to accidents such as:

High-speed crashes – Nodding off while driving at a high speed can lead to collisions that result in disastrous consequences.

Head-on collisions – Falling asleep while driving on a two-lane highway can cause a motorist to drift into the oncoming lane and collide head-on with cars coming the other way.

Rear-end accidents – Even if they start awake, many times, motorists who drive while fatigued don’t have enough time to brake or swerve to avoid hitting vehicles or objects in front of them.

Rollover accidents – Sleepy drivers may be startled awake and jerk or overcorrect the wheel in reaction. Sudden movements such as this can cause them to lose control and roll the vehicle. Depending on where a vehicle lands, these types of accidents can cause a chain reaction and lead to catastrophic multi-car pileups.

Who Is Vulnerable To Driver Fatigue?

While anyone can fall suspect to drowsy driving, certain populations have a greater risk for driver fatigue crashes. Those at the greatest risk of accidents involving driver fatigue include:

  • People between the ages of 16 and 29
  • People with narcolepsy or sleep apnea
  • Those with chronic insomnia or undiagnosed sleep disorders
  • Workers who work the night shift or odd hours
  • Commercial truck drivers

Other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome, dementia, heart disease, epilepsy, and other multifaceted health problems can lead to sleep disturbances and other issues that result in drowsy driving. Allergy medications sleep medications, benzodiazepines, opioids, tranquilizers, and antidepressants can also cause drivers to become sleepy, even if they were taken many hours before getting on the road. Sleep-deprived parents with a new baby or small children at home may also be more susceptible to driver fatigue.

Truck Driver Fatigue

The risk of catastrophic injuries and fatalities becomes even higher if an 18-wheeler or other large commercial vehicle is involved. Many truck drivers are on the road for long stretches at a time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) imposes strict limits on the number of hours truck drivers are allowed to be on the road. Our motor vehicle accident lawyers are well-versed in federal and state laws that govern the trucking industry, which is vital when proving negligence in a drowsy driving claim.

Proving Driver Fatigue Caused An Accident

Although the negligence of drowsy drivers causes thousands of accidents each year, proving driver fatigue can be difficult. Our motor vehicle accident attorneys are familiar with the type of evidence that can sometimes show if a driver was fatigued or fell asleep behind the wheel. Witness statements, cell phone records, GPS tracking, security and red light cameras, truck driving logs, and, event data recorders that are found in commercial trucks are all helpful pieces of evidence that can help build a case to prove driver fatigue. Another way to find out if a person may have been susceptible to drowsy driving is to look at their medical history. Our attorneys often ask the court to subpoena a potentially liable party’s medical records as part of the investigation of a drowsy driving accident. We may also enlist the services of experts whose focus is in identifying possible causes of driver fatigue. All of these things put together may support the facts of your claim.

What To Do After An Accident

Seeking medical attention is critical after any accident. Check to see if any others are injured and call 911 right away. Take photos of the scene, your injuries, and write down everything you remember about what happened. Get contact and insurance information of other drivers, collect witness statements a copy of the police report if possible. Do not give a statement, accept a settlement, or sign anything from any insurance company before speaking with an accident attorney.

How A Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Can Help

Unless a negligent driver comes right out and admits they were asleep behind the wheel, an insurance company will most likely deny or seriously undervalue your claim. Negotiations with insurance companies can be frustrating and overwhelming. You and your family can focus on healing while we do the dirty work of dealing with insurance companies. As we investigate and build your personal injury case, we also handle all communications and negotiations with the involved insurers, adjusters, and opposing counsel. Our tenacious team fights to protect your rights and works tirelessly to recover the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled. If you’re concerned about how you’ll pay for your case, you can rest assured that you won’t pay any up-front costs or anything at all unless we recover compensation for you.

Contact Our Mobile Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

Being hurt or losing a loved one in a drowsy driving accident doesn’t have to put an undue financial burden on your shoulders. Let our motor vehicle accident lawyers help you find the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call Moore Law Firm at 251-445-7602 to schedule a free consultation.

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