The last thing you want to think about is the possibility that millions of drivers may be sleep-deprived enough to fall asleep behind the wheel during your morning commute, but studies consistently show that most American adults aren’t getting enough sleep. Fortunately for you, every time we get behind the wheel we take responsibility for not only our own lives, but also the lives of each and every driver we pass on our way to work.
If you were hit by someone falling asleep at the wheel, then you definitely have a good case and should seek out the help of an accomplished personal injury attorney to help get you the biggest amount of compensation possible.
What does the science say?
Recent studies from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicate that driving while drowsy is probably more dangerous than we previously thought. It is recommended that adults acquire at least seven hours of sleep each night, and apparently missing even an hour or two can double the likelihood that you’ll be involved in any sort of automobile accident. Although these are scary statistics, they’ll make procuring compensation for any physical and mental trauma you suffer a great deal easier after someone hits you when they’re asleep at the wheel.
Drivers who are under the influence of drugs could also be held liable. Common antihistamines like benadryl can cause drowsiness, and the number of accidents drivers get into increases proportionally when the number of doses or drugs administered are increased. If your personal injury attorney can prove that a driver under the influence of any sleep-inducing medication hit you, then it won’t even matter that they were awake at the time of the accident. You’ve got a case.
What does the law say?
The law acknowledges that all drivers have a legal “duty of care” that says we must maintain safe driving standards every time we get behind the wheel. If you don’t get enough sleep or are taking medications that inhibit your ability to set these standards for yourself, then you are failing your legal duty of care and can be held liable for any physical and mental injuries other drivers incur when you cause an accident.
Other examples of breaking this duty include texting, drinking, speeding, or driving recklessly. Not only can you be held liable for damages, but you can also be held criminally responsible and charged with a crime that might land you in jail.
So, you’ve been hit by a driver falling asleep at the wheel. One issue you might have in court is finding a way to prove that this is the case. Hopefully the driver already made an admission to the police, but if he did not, then there are probably details and legal realities your lawyer will want to discuss with you. Since your case will always be more successful if the police arrest or cite the other driver, gathering the requisite evidence that insurance companies need in order to process your claim might be more difficult. But that’s how your lawyer will help you out.
If you’re afraid of hiring a lawyer because you don’t think you can win, you should know that most reputable attorneys will always offer you a free consult before a contract is drawn up. You can take advantage of this in order to shop around and find the attorney right for you. Regardless of your situation, you always have the potential for compensation when another driver is the cause of an accident. Although proving that the other driver was impaired is the best-case scenario, it should be a secondary concern. First and foremost, worry about finding the right attorney. Once you’ve done that, your case should go smoothly. Good luck!
Randall F. Rogers is a personal injury lawyer that practices in the small suburb of Marietta, outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Originally working at a large firm, he left to work on his own, so he could work closely with individuals and help them seek justice. When not walking to and from the court house, he can be seen discussing gardening with the community or reading a book from his favorite author Henry David Thoreau.