Drowsy Driving Accidents in Bedford, VA
No one should get behind the wheel of a car when they are too tired to drive safely, but 1 in 25 adult drivers admit to falling asleep while driving during the month prior to being surveyed. NHTSA statistics indicate that drowsy driving is responsible for at least 72,000 crashes each year, but they note that the actual number is likely much higher. Driving while fatigued impacts an individual’s ability to pay attention, react quickly to obstructions, and make sound decisions.
What does this mean for the victim of a drowsy driving accident? You aren’t alone. Thousands of people are hurt in drowsy driving crashes every year, and you may be able to seek damages for the injuries you have suffered.
Signs and Causes of Drowsy Driving
If you are sharing the road with a drowsy driver, you are at risk of being hurt in an accident. Being aware of the signs of fatigued driving can help you put space between yourself and an unsafe driver. Watch for cars that swerve between lanes without turn signals, drift across the road, swerve multiple times, and speed up or slow down randomly.
Certain people are more likely to drive while tired than other groups. Drivers at risk include:
- Those with sleep disorders or who use sleep medications
- Those who work evening or overnight shifts
- Commercial drivers
- People who frequently drive between midnight and 6:00 A.M.
- Those under the influence of drugs or alcohol
While many people think that fatigued driving accidents occur only at night, there are several other times when drowsy driving crashes spike. Accident rates increase in the early hours of the and in the mid-afternoon, when many people hit their afternoon slump.
Dangers of Fatigued Driving
Any car accident has the potential to cause fatalities or serious injuries, but crashes caused by drowsy drivers are exceptionally dangerous. While an alert driver who is about to crash may take evasive action and limit the damage they cause, a fatigued or sleeping driver may crash at full speed. These crashes often cause substantial property damage and severe injuries.
Choosing an Attorney After a Drowsy Driving Accident
If you are hurt in a drowsy driving crash, it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. It is unlikely that the driver of the other car will come out and admit that they were too tired to drive safely, and in many cases, it ends up being your word against theirs.
Hiring an attorney turns the tables and puts you in a better to position to recover the compensation you deserve. There are several types of evidence that can strengthen your case and prove that the other driver caused the crash, but without an attorney, you may be unable to identify or request that evidence. Your attorney will look at your retelling of the accident, gather the evidence, and begin building your case.
Most personal injury claims are settled out of court. This is where your attorney can really fight on your behalf. The insurance adjuster’s goal is to convince you to waive your right to sue in exchange for the lowest settlement amount possible. If you do not yet know the extent of your injuries, the costs associated with your property damage, or how much time you will be out of work, the amount may sound fair to you.
If you accept the first settlement, you will likely get far less than you should. By the time your expenses start piling up and the settlement money runs out, it is too late to negotiate, and you are left carrying the financial burden of the crash.
On the other hand, an attorney is in a much better position to figure out how much the accident will cost you and which types of compensation you are entitled to. They use this information to negotiate with the insurance company and secure a reasonable settlement for you. In the event that negotiations fall through and the company refuses to be fair, your attorney will file a lawsuit and take your case to court.
Proving a Driver’s Drowsiness
Evidence is an essential component of any personal injury case. A drowsy driving accident often leaves behind several pieces of evidence that are specific to this type of crash. Furthermore, many types of evidence begin to deteriorate quickly and are unavailable after a period of time. This is why it is crucial to act quickly and retain legal assistance as quickly as possible. Your attorney may look for evidence like:
- Information from the vehicle’s event data recorder showing that the driver did not brake in the seconds leading up to the crash
- Evidence indicating that the driver had been awake for an extended period of time, including social media posts, receipts, phone calls, text messages, and EDR data
- Medical records showing the diagnosis of a sleep disorder or the prescription of a medication that causes fatigue
- Witness accounts or dash cam footage showing that the driver drove erratically, drifted, or hit the rumble strip before the crash
Seeking Compensation After a Car Crash
When someone engages in unsafe behavior and causes injuries or fatalities, they must be held accountable for the harm they have caused. As the victim of a car crash, you may be able to seek compensation from the other party’s insurance company or personal assets. The types and amount of compensation you may be able to recover are determined by the details of the accident, the strength of your case, and the other driver’s insurance coverage limits. You may be entitled to compensation for:
- Your medical expenses
- Adaptive equipment
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
If your case goes to court and the jury finds that the driver acted with willful and wanton disregard, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the responsible party for their actions and dissuade others from engaging in similar behavior.
After reviewing your case, your attorney will discuss your options with you and help you understand what you have a reasonable chance of receiving.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Have you been injured by a tired driver? The Pack Law Group is ready to fight aggressively for the compensation you are owed. To schedule your free consultation and talk to one of our experienced lawyers, call us at 540-586-7225 or message us through our web contact form. We look forward to assisting you.