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Falling Asleep While Driving Accident Liability

Posted on: June 13, 2017 by Edwards & Patterson Law

Falling Asleep While Driving

Falling asleep while driving is a common cause of accidents. Alcohol, long times behind the wheel, overwork, stress and even medical conditions can cause drivers to fall asleep. Many who fall asleep and cause accidents escape injury; a number of such crashes go unreported. However, for those who fall asleep behind the wheel, it is just a matter of time before they cause a serious accident.

According to the Drowsy Driving Report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 83,000 motor vehicle crashes occur each year as a result of falling asleep while driving, including over 800 fatalities. In 2016, drowsy driving caused an estimated 20% of driving fatalities across the nation.

Warning Signs of Falling Asleep While Driving

Sleepiness can creep up on a driver before they are aware of fatigue. If you or the driver of the vehicle in which you are riding exhibit any of these signs, it is time to pull over and get some rest.

  • Frequent yawning
  • Eyes drooping or closing often
  • Eyes losing focus
  • Slow reaction times
  • Head nodding
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Trouble focusing on the road
  • Inability to maintain a constant speed

If you encounter another driver exhibiting these signs or other erratic behavior, such as swerving between lanes, avoid them and maintain a safe distance. If possible, contact the authorities and report the driver and provide the vehicle make, model and license number as well as your location.

Establishing Liability

All drivers have a moral and legal obligation to drive safely and consider the safety and well-being of others. This includes knowing when they are capable of competently operating a motor vehicle, and refraining from driving when unable to do so safely. If a driver violates this “legal duty of care” and causes an accident, he or she is responsible under the law for the damages caused.

This carelessness, or negligence, can include speeding, ignoring traffic signals, texting and driving, driving while intoxicated, speeding and drowsy driving. While most of the aforementioned examples are more easily proved in an accident investigation, falling asleep at the wheel is more difficult. If the driver at fault does not admit to falling asleep, the burden of proving it falls on the investigating officer.

An experienced, professional personal injury attorney can assist you with establishing falling asleep while driving accident liability. They know how to investigate the accident and gather necessary evidence to prove your claim in a court of law. If you have been in an accident involving injury in McAlester, Tulsa or eastern Oklahoma, and you believe a sleepy driver was at fault, contact the Oklahoma attorneys of Edwards and Patterson Law. We will carefully investigate your claims and fight to obtain you the most favorable settlement possible. Call us today at 877-403-8417 or contact us online. We guarantee that you pay no attorney fees unless you recover monetary damages.

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