According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving contributes to an estimated 72,000 car accidents and 44,000 injuries each year. In 2017, 795 lives were lost in these types of collisions. Drowsy driving can decrease a motorist’s reaction time and limit their vision and hand-eye coordination. If you have sustained a personal injury in an auto accident caused by a drowsy driver, you should speak to an attorney to determine your options for making a claim and recovering compensation.
How Common Is Drowsy Driving?
Drowsy driving takes place when a vehicle operator is extremely fatigued or falling asleep while at the wheel. A drowsy driver may drive dangerously in a variety of ways, including drifting out of their lane, failing to stop in time, or not noticing other vehicles that are merging or changing lanes, and fatigue greatly increases the probability of an accident taking place. The severity of drowsy driving can range from feeling tired and having a slightly slower reaction time to actually falling asleep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowsy driving most commonly affects night shift workers, long-distance truck drivers, motorists with untreated sleep disorders, or individuals who are driving under the influence of medication. In addition, the consumption of alcohol or illicit drugs can compound the effects of fatigue. These substances can dramatically reduce a person’s ability to react in time to situations on the road around them, causing them to be unable to avoid colliding with other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians.
Drowsy Driving and Breached Duty of Care
In any personal injury claim, it is imperative to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Drivers have a “duty of care” to operate their vehicle safely and prevent harm to others, and a negligent driver who breaches this duty of care may be held accountable for causing a crash. For example, if a fatigued driver fell asleep, swerved into a different lane, and collided with another vehicle, it may be shown that the choice to drive while drowsy was the direct cause of the accident, and the driver may be held liable for this breach of the duty of care.
Wisconsin law permits victims of car accidents caused by the negligence of another party to seek compensation for their damages. These damages can include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
After an accident, an attorney can help you gather evidence demonstrating that the accident was caused by a drowsy driver. This evidence may include eyewitness statements, police reports, medical records, and receipts for any repairs.
Contact an Appleton Car Accident Lawyer
An accident caused by a fatigued driver can lead to extensive or even life-long complications. If you were injured because of the negligence of a drowsy driver, you should be sure to understand your options for pursuing financial compensation. To schedule a free consultation with a Green Bay personal injury attorney, contact Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. today at 920-739-7366.