When it comes to automobile accidents, rarely is it the vehicle that is dangerous. Instead, it is the driver that poses the threat, especially when it comes to a fatigued or drowsy driver. When an individual gets behind the wheel in this state and causes an accident, they must be held liable for the unnecessary damages they have caused. Learn about some of the factors that can impact this type of accident claim.
One hurdle that victims involved in these types of accidents face is the difficulty that comes with proving that an individual is asleep. For example, if someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, there are tests available to measure the presence of this substance in their body. You cannot measure fatigue primarily because what is tiresome to one person might not be tiresome to the next.
For this reason, these cases often require reliance on circumstantial evidence. An instance of the driver telling a coworker that they were very sleepy before leaving the office is an example of this type of evidence. As you might imagine, uncovering this type of evidence is not easy, so it is generally best to have an attorney working your case so that they can use their investigative knowledge.
Whether or not there were any contributing factors involved in the accident is another issue that could affect your case. For example, there are certain prescription medications that induce sleepiness.
In the event a driver knowingly took this type of medicine, got behind the wheel, and caused an accident, the degree to which they have been found negligent could increase. For instance, they could be found to be acting with gross negligence, particularly if the victim experienced significant injuries.
Personal vs. Commercial Drivers
Whether or not the driver of the vehicle was operating a personal or commercial vehicle is also of importance. If the driver was operating their own vehicle, the victim would file their claim against the driver and their insurance company.
However, if the driver was operating a commercial vehicle and was on the clock, the company could also be to blame. For example, if the driver was fatigued because the company required them to work extra hours, the actions of the company could be in part to blame for the accident. Therefore, they could be equally liable.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a driver who was asleep at the wheel, there are a number of factors that can impact your case. Speak with a personal injury attorney to learn if you have a case.