According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatigued or drowsy driving claimed 795 lives in 2017. Many drivers face pressures to be on the roads even while fatigued, including truck drivers and cab drivers. These factors increase the risk of accidents with drowsy drivers.
If you or your loved one was injured because of an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Morelli Law Firm, our Buffalo accident caused by driver fatigue lawyer can help you understand and exercise your legal rights to file suit and receive fair compensation.
Contact us at (212) 751-9800 to schedule an appointment for a no-obligation case evaluation with one of our team members.
Dangers of Fatigued Driving
Driver fatigue is the act of driving while feeling sleepiness or fatigue. This fatigue may be caused by insufficient sleep, driving for long hours, or driving after a long day of work.
Fatigued driving can be very dangerous because of the potential to fall asleep at the wheel and make driving errors. The NHTSA estimates that 91,000 reported crashes in 2017 involved drowsy drivers. The real number may be far higher since it isn’t always possible to determine conclusively whether a driver was fatigued at the time of an accident.
Fatigued driving may also be the result of insomnia or sleep disorders like sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Fatigue and drowsiness could be the side effect of medication or drugging – both for medical or recreational purposes.
Drivers who operate vehicles while drowsy have slower reaction times and a higher potential to become distracted. Accidents may result if they cannot pay attention to their surroundings and react in time to unforeseeable hazards. At worst, a fatigued driver may fall asleep at the wheel and cause a crash.
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Symptoms of Driver Fatigue
If a driver showed signs of fatigue and their actions led to your accident, they may be liable for negligence. These symptoms include:
- Yawning or blinking frequently
- Fighting to stay awake or keep your eyes open
- Constant drifting, daydreaming, or getting distracted
- Weaving between lanes or veering off the road
- Missing traffic signals, turns, or exits
In some cases, drivers may not recognize the source of their fatigue. For instance, they may be taking medications that cause drowsiness. However, this does not excuse the driver from responsibility for their actions.
While some of these symptoms of fatigue may be difficult to observe if you were in an accident with a drowsy driver, some of these behaviors could be noted in a police report. Even if these signs of fatigued driving were not documented or observed by witnesses, a lawyer can speak with you more about methods of demonstrating negligence on the part of the offending driver.
If you have suffered an injury due to another driver’s drowsy or fatigued driving, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our Buffalo accident caused by driver fatigue lawyer from Morelli Law Firm at (212) 751-9800 to learn more about your rights and options.
Driver Fatigue in Trucking Accidents and Other Commercial Vehicles
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has regulations governing driving hours for commercial fleet drivers. These safety regulations dictate the total number of hours drivers can work in a day or week. However, fleet owners may run understaffed fleets and force drivers to deliver more at the expense of their own and other road users’ safety.
When handling an accident involving a truck or commercial fleet, a lawyer can investigate whether or not driver fatigue contributed to the accident. We can check driver logs, hotel receipts, phone records, and GPS logs to determine the number of hours the driver worked before the accident.
There may be evidence that the driver was overworked. In that case, the fleet owners, managers, or company may be partially liable for the accident. Depending on the circumstances of the injuries, those responsible could also face criminal charges.
Injuries from Fatigued Driver Accidents
The severity of injuries from fatigued driver accidents varies according to the specifics of each case. Accidents involving trucks and small cars often lead to severe injuries and even fatalities for the smaller vehicle’s occupants. If speeding was involved, the speed and angle of a collision could have significant consequences for occupants nearest to the impact point. Some injuries include:
- Fractures in limbs and torso
- Lacerations and cuts by metal and glass shards
- Airbag impact injuries
- Brain injuries and trauma
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Neck and back injuries, including whiplash
- Internal injuries and bleeding
While New York law dictates that drivers must first pursue compensation for accident losses through their own auto insurance, you may be able to seek compensation through a lawsuit. In the event of serious injuries following an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim against the offending party. A lawyer can speak with you more about what kinds of injuries qualify as severe in the eyes of New York law.
In the state of New York, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim. Your lawyer can help you ensure that you are aware of any important deadlines involved in taking legal action.
Getting Help with Morelli Law Firm
Have you or your loved one been hurt because of a fatigued driving accident? Our Buffalo accident caused by driver fatigue lawyer can help you explore all legal avenues at your disposal. At Morelli Law Firm, we work hard to fight for your compensation and for accountability after your accident.
Contact us at (212) 751-9800 today to schedule an evaluation of your case.