What to Know About Building a Case Against a Drowsy Driver

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on December 21, 2022 and updated on December 28, 2022.

tired driver with fingers on noseMany people are too fatigued to drive, particularly in the early morning and nighttime hours. Unfortunately, fatigue and lack of sleep do not stop many people from getting behind the wheel to go to work or school, pick up their children, or run an errand.

Sadly, fatigued driving often results in dangerous collisions. Even if a driver avoids falling asleep, he or she may have delayed reaction time or have trouble seeing clearly. This could cause a crash that results in severe or even life-changing injuries.

If you think the driver who caused your crash was fatigued, give our Maryland auto accident lawyers a call today to learn how we may be able to assist you. The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl pursues full compensation for crash victims at no upfront cost. We know how to gather evidence to prove a driver’s negligence, including drowsy driving.

Free legal consultation. Call to learn more: 410-401-9979.

What is Drowsy Driving?

Drowsy driving occurs when a driver operates a motor vehicle while he or she is fatigued because of a lack of sleep, sleep disorder or medication (prescription or over-the-counter medication). Sometimes drowsy drivers fall asleep and other times they struggle to stay focused on driving. They may struggle to keep their eyes open or concentrate on driving.

Why Drowsy Driving is Dangerous

The dangers of drowsy driving are like the dangers of impaired driving. For example, when you are under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs your vision may be impaired. You may struggle to react quickly or even keep your mind and your eyes on the road. Drunk drivers and drowsy drivers might even fall asleep while their vehicles are in motion. Drivers may make bad decisions because they are too tired to consider the consequences of their actions.

There are a variety of dangerous mistakes drowsy drivers could make that might cause a crash:

  • Failing to stay in a lane
  • Driving too fast or too slowly
  • Crossing the center line and driving into oncoming cars
  • Driving too close to other vehicles
  • Running through a red light or stop sign

These and other mistakes could dramatically increase the risk of a crash that could cause serious injuries. Drowsy drivers are less likely to slow down if they are about to get into a crash. This could result in a more dangerous impact that increases the risk of life-changing injury.

Validating a Drowsy Driving Crash

It is important to note your lawyer may not need to prove drowsy driving to recover compensation for your damages. Your lawyer only needs to establish negligent driving.

Negligence is the failure to uphold a duty of care owed to another person. A duty of care is an obligation to take reasonable steps to try to prevent a collision. Drivers owe other drivers an obligation to obey the rules of the road.

For example, if you were injured in a sideswipe crash, your lawyer would only need to prove the other driver drifted into your lane. Drowsy driving may have been the reason why the other driver drifted into your lane. However, the important point is that drifting into your lane infringes on your right of way. That is a negligent act, which makes the other driver liable for damages from the crash.

Evidence of drowsy driving may help to back up a claim about another negligent act.

Characteristics of the Accident

Drowsy driving crashes often have certain characteristics. For example, there may be a lack of skid marks because the at-fault driver fell asleep. Drivers who are asleep or tired often fail to take evasive action to avoid a collision. When drivers fail to take evasive action it can result in a much more dangerous accident.

Drowsy driving often results in certain types of crashes:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Lane-change crashes
  • Head-on collisions
  • High-speed collisions
  • Crashes during the early morning hours
  • Crashes late at night

Often, drowsy drivers do not remember much of what happened in the crash. This could be because they fell asleep or their eyes were closed for a few seconds before the collision.

Risk Factors for Drowsy Driving

There are many risk factors for drowsy driving, such as working late at night. People who work during these hours may drive home late at night or in the early morning hours. They may have an irregular schedule, which makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.

Some people have sleep disorders that prevent them from sleeping well. Some have narcolepsy, which can cause them to fall asleep at random times throughout the day.

Commercial truck drivers are on the road a lot and they have strict deadlines to meet. This can cause them to get less sleep and drive when they are fatigued.

Some people are taking medications that cause drowsiness. These people may need to be cautious with driving while they get used to taking these medications – the box or pill bottle may have a warning about drowsiness. They may even need to avoid driving while taking these medications.

Evidence to Prove Your Case

There are a variety of types of evidence that may help prove fault for a drowsy driving crash. For example, an eyewitness may have seen the at-fault driver asleep at the wheel and drifting out of his or her lane.

The police report may also indicate fault for the crash. For example, the responding officer may note the lack of skid marks and the appearance of the at-fault driver. The driver may look tired. He or she may have bags under the eyes or may be yawning frequently.

The damage to the vehicles involved could also indicate drowsy driving or reckless driving due to driver fatigue. Your lawyer may be able to bring in an accident reconstruction expert to explain in detail why the crash occurred.

Your lawyer can review the driver’s background. Maybe he or she works an irregular schedule or works late at night. Your lawyer may also be able to find out if the driver is taking a medication that causes drowsy driving or if he or she has a sleep disorder.

Contact Us to Discuss Your Legal Claim

For decades, we have been advocating for those injured by another’s negligence. We know how dangerous drowsy driving can be and we have the resources and legal knowledge to pursue full compensation.

Our services come at no upfront cost. That means there is no cost to hire our firm and no cost while working on your case.

Contact Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices. We are here to help: 410-401-9979.