Drowsy Driving Can Be Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving
We all know that getting behind the wheel when under the influence of an intoxicating substance, be it drugs or alcohol, is a bad idea. But what about driving when you’re tired?
Think about it. When we’re tired, our reaction times slow, our vision is impaired, we struggle to focus, and oftentimes, we make decisions we wouldn’t otherwise make. That’s all assuming we can stay awake to begin with.
If you or a loved one were injured following an accident with someone you suspect to have been driving drowsy, you should contact an experienced attorney. You may be entitled to compensation to cover your medical expenses, the physical damage done to your vehicle, and more. The Allentown drowsy driving accident lawyers at Munley Law know how to get you the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. For over 60 years, car wreck victims in the Allentown area have come to Munley Law, where our team of Allentown car accident attorneys consistently ranks among the Best Lawyers in America. We have earned the highest possible client satisfaction rankings and are board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. And we’re ready to fight for you.
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Is Drowsy Driving Common?
Unfortunately, yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has studied this topic and found that 1 in 25 adult drivers reported falling asleep within the last 30 days. What’s more, drowsy driving contributed to 91,000 vehicle accidents in 2017. This resulted in 50,000 injuries and almost 800 deaths. What’s more, police reports demonstrate that in 2020, 633 deaths resulted from drowsy driving. Of course, these results likely vastly underestimate the problem, given the difficulty to track and report drowsiness while driving.
While driving drowsy is not directly a crime–like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol–that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Indeed driving drowsy can cause extensive damage to property, staggering medical bills, prolonged recovery, and even death.
For that reason, if you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident, and you suspect the individual was driving drowsy, you should immediately contact an attorney to hold them responsible.
You may be wondering how you can recover if driving drowsy is not a crime. That’s because driving drowsy, while not illegal, is still negligent under the law.
What is Negligence?
Drivers owe a duty of care to drive reasonably to avoid causing harm to others on the road, pedestrians, and property. For that reason, if a driver fails to act reasonably while on the road (say, for example by driving after staying out all night) that driver can be held legally responsible when their drowsiness caused an accident.
Negligence is a legal concept that is simple in theory but incredibly complex in practice. Put simply, to prove negligence you must prove four things: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
- Duty: In the context of a drowsy driver, the duty element is easier. This is because as a driver, we all owe a duty of care to others around us to drive reasonably.
- Breach: to prove breach, you must show that the drowsy driver failed to act reasonably. To do so, a lawyer will help you present evidence that the person chose to drive despite there being a risk it was unsafe to do so.
- Causation: causation is simple in theory, but often a complex factual and legal issue. In this context, you must prove that the driver’s drowsiness caused your injuries.
- Damages: you must also prove that the breach of duty, the drowsiness, caused you financial or emotional damages. This is where we must prove the amount of money involved.
An Allentown Accident Attorney Can Help You Prove Your Case
An experienced accident attorney in Allentown can help you prove each of these elements. It’s important to work with an attorney, and to contact that attorney as quickly as possible, to ensure that you position yourself to recover all the money to which you are entitled.
Furthermore, an attorney can make sure that you don’t accidentally waive your right to recover money that you’re owed by, for example, signing certain documents or making certain statements, either to the negligent driver or their insurance company.
What Damages Can I Recover After An Accident Caused by a Drowsy Driver in Allentown?
- Physical Injuries and Medical Expenses: Physical injuries can include cuts and other lacerations, burns, broken bones, and even traumatic brain injuries. At the bottom, any physical harm you or a loved one suffered in the crash can usually be recovered.
- Property Damage: You can also generally recover for harm done to the property. This can of course include damage to your car, but the law covers more than that. Say, for example, a drowsy driver doesn’t hit your car but hits someone else and, because of the force, someone’s car hits your home or business. The negligent driver (or drivers) can be held responsible. The same is true if, for example, a drowsy driver doesn’t hit another car at all, but simply veers off the road because they fell asleep, hitting a building you own or other property. In fact, in some cases, drowsy drivers have run off the road and into farmland, causing thousands of dollars in damage to the crops and underlying land. The negligent driver is responsible for that damage.
- Mental and Emotional Damages: These damages are meant to cover the mental anguish you experienced as a result of a car crash, and can include things like PTSD and anxiety, or a fear of driving or riding in a car.
- Lost Wages and Loss to Future Earning Capacity: These damages are meant to compensate you for the time that you were unable to work due to the accident and the resulting injuries. Similarly, if you are unable to continue working your same job because of your injuries, these damages can also compensate you for that.
Can I Spot a Car Driven By a Drowsy Driver?
You may be thinking that proving that an accident was caused by a drowsy driver is impossible. And it’s at times difficult. But a qualified Allentown accident attorney can certainly help.
There are certain warning signs you’ve likely seen before that suggest that another driver is tired. For example, when a car slowly drifts between lanes or onto the rumble strip on the highway, or repeatedly slows down and then quickly speeds up without warning.
A lawyer can help you present what you saw the other driver do, as well as gather other evidence to prove that another driver was drowsy. This can include:
- Testimony from other drivers on the road or pedestrians
- Video footage of the crash of video footage of the driver who caused your accident just before
- Evidence to support or suggest that the other driver had been awake for a long time (for example, employment records, testimony from people who knew the driver, or other evidence demonstrating what the driver was doing the day of the accident)
- Evidence about the driver’s state after the accident
The CDC has identified several groups of people who are at risk for driving while tired:
- Teen and young adult drivers
- Drivers on the road between midnight and 6 a.m
- Commercial truck drivers
- Drivers who work the night shift or long shifts
- Drivers with sleep disorders, medical conditions, or who take medications that make them sleepy
The Car Accident Attorneys at Munley Law Are Here to Fight For You
The experienced Allentown accident attorneys at Munley Law are here to fight for you. You don’t have to go it alone. Contact us today.
You won’t pay a dime unless we win, and even then, our fee comes out of the money we recover for you. What’s more, contacting us is risk-free. You aren’t obligated to do anything unless you choose to. Connecting with us is easy, you can call, fill out a form online, or use the chat feature on this website. One of our attorneys will happily discuss your options with you free of charge and pressure-free. We’re here to help.
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