“Drowsy Driving” In Florida Auto Accident Cases – What To Do After A Fatigued Driver Causes An Accident
Along with speeding and drunk driving, “drowsy driving” is one of the leading causes of auto accidents in Florida. Fatigued drivers are responsible for over 3,000 car crashes in Florida each year. These are situations in which at least one of the drivers involved was tired to the point where they lost control of their vehicle and caused a wreck.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) warns that when drivers are fatigued behind the wheel, their judgment, reaction times, and vision are all affected. The overall impact on their driving can be similar to the effects from alcohol, in some cases. Motor vehicles traveling at high speeds can be deadly weapons when their operators aren’t fully alert or attentive.
What is Fatigued Driving?
The signs and effects of fatigued driving, according to the CDC, can include:
- Reacting slowly to changing road conditions or other drivers
- “Nodding off”, or briefly falling asleep for a matter of seconds
- Drifting from your lane
- Experiencing “tunnel vision”, or less awareness of surroundings
- Forgetting the last mile or more that you’ve driven
When any of these things occur, drivers should pull over and make sure they are fully rested before continuing. Before taking the wheel, drivers should make sure they’ve had enough rest or have not taken any medications that can cause drowsiness. If the person drives for a living – as an over-the-road trucker, for instance – their employer should ensure their drivers are getting adequate rest on their trips.
What to After a “Drowsy Driving” Accident
Unfortunately, even if we take all precautions to make sure we are awake and alert on the road, we can’t control the conditions of other drivers. A fatigued driver can cross lanes, drive through red lights, fail to brake, or commit any number of other dangerous acts while behind the wheel. If this happens to you, there are important steps to take next:
- Call Police and Make Sure an Accident Report is Completed
The police report, complete with details and impressions of the accident, statements made by both drivers, and details of vehicle damage, are vital to any potential claim. These are important not only to your vehicle insurance claim, but to a legal claim against the other driver. Proving negligence isn’t always easy, but a detailed police report can be a key piece of the puzzle.
- Call Your Insurance Company
Your insurer will want to know details of your claim as soon as possible. If the accident was caused by another person for a reason such as fatigued driving, that is crucial for them to know. Depending on your policy, your deductible may be waived if you were the innocent victim of a traffic accident.
- Call an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
If you were injured and suffered auto damage due to a fatigued driver on Florida’s roads, you have important legal rights, and a right to financial compensation under certain circumstances. Proving liability in a drowsy driving case isn’t as simple as for drunken driving, however. Unlike a DUI case, there is no breathalyzer result or similar proof for a jury to rely on. Fatigue driving cases must be supported by different types of evidence such as:
- Eyewitness testimony (what did other drivers or pedestrians see the at-fault driver do?)
- The driver’s own statements immediately following the accident, and to police
- Any medication the driver was taking, and its potential effects
- Whether the at-fault driver was leaving a long shift at work, or was sleep-deprived for any reason
- Physical evidence including tire tracks or the vehicle’s computer records
Not all attorneys or law firms are fully prepared to take on these cases, as they involve considerable time and resources. At the Draper Law Office, we have substantial experience in these types of cases and know what to do to pursue an accident victim’s legal rights.
The Draper Law Office in Kissimmee, Florida Can Help if You or a Loved One Has Been Injured in a Fatigued Driving Accident
Making sense of an accident and its consequences is tough for anyone. Knowing what to do next can be confusing and frustrating as well. Our Kissimmee auto accident lawyers at Draper Law Office are ready to guide you through the legal process and discuss all available options in your case. Get started by calling 407-846-0075 or completing our online case questionnaire today.