I was in a car accident that was not my fault. I think the other driver hit me because he was drowsy. Can I sue for bodily injury if I cannot prove the other driver was drowsy at the time of the car accident?
DROWSY DRIVING IN AMERICA
Anyone who chooses to operate a motor vehicle when they are tired or drowsy is putting themselves and all others on the road in danger. It is estimated that more than 109,000 people are injured, and 6,400 people are killed in drowsy driving accidents each year.
Sadly, the number of drowsy drivers is increasing according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. According to a study by AAA in 2014, drowsy driving was a factor in approximately 21 percent of fatal crashes. This number represented a 16.5 percent increase from the previous study in 2010. Even though almost all drivers acknowledge drowsy driving is a serious problem, 37 percent of drivers admit to falling asleep while driving at least once in their lives and 11 percent admit to falling asleep within the past year.
HOW SERIOUS IS DROWSY DRIVING?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep each night for teenagers and adults. However, most people do not follow this recommendation for sleep. In fact, many people sleep less than five hours each night. Whether the lack of sleep is due to work, family, or fun, the result is the same — a lack of sleep increases our risk of being involved in a drowsy driving car accident. In fact, driving while drowsy is much like driving with a blood alcohol concentration level that is equal or slightly above the legal limit for drunk driving.
A recent study found that drivers who slept less than four hours in the past 24 hours were 11.5 times more likely to be involved in an accident compared to drivers who had seven or more hours of sleep. Drivers who skipped just a couple hours of sleep (5 to 6 hours) were 1.9 times more likely to be involved in a crash. However, sleep deprivation is not the only cause of drowsy driving accidents.
In addition to a lack of sleep, other factors that can result in a drowsy driving accident include:
- Taking medications that cause drowsiness
- Consuming alcohol
- Untreated or undiagnosed sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
- Frequent interruptions during sleep
- Working night shifts or swing shifts
- Truck drivers who exceed the limits for safe driving hours
Proving a driver was drowsy at the time of a car accident can be difficult. However, to receive compensation for your injuries, you must prove the other driver was at fault. A Lake City car accident attorney can help.
PROVING FAULT IN DROWSY DRIVING ACCIDENTS
In most cases, a driver who is drowsy makes a mistake while driving. Examples of actions that a drowsy driver can take that result in a car crash include:
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Drifting into another lane
- Running a stop sign or a red light
- Running off the side of the road
- Failing to stop thereby causing a rear-end collision
Because drowsy drivers make mistakes, we use evidence to show the driver did something wrong, such as turning left in front of you, to establish fault. Even though being drowsy was a factor in the car crash, the evidence pointed to negligent or reckless actions that caused the crash and resulted in your injuries. As experienced Lake City car accident attorneys, we understand how to investigate car accidents and use the evidence we find to prove the accident was not your fault.
CALL FOR A FREE APPOINTMENT WITH A LAKE CITY ATTORNEY
If a drowsy driver injures you, we can help. Contact the Koberlein Law Offices by calling our Lake City office at 386-269-9802 or our Gainesville office at 352-519-4357 to schedule a free consultation. You may also contact our office by using the contact form on our website.