You can sue a driver for falling asleep at the wheel and causing an accident. If another driver fell asleep and this led to your collision, you likely have a case against them. You can also pursue an insurance claim and attempt to negotiate fair compensation from their insurer in these cases.
A car accident lawyer can help you document what caused your crash. They can also explain the damages you can recover and the potential settlement range of your case. Your attorney will know how to build a case against the drowsy driver and navigate the legal process to pursue the money you need to pay your bills and cover other costs related to your crash. Most provide free initial consultations.
When Is a Lawsuit Necessary in an Asleep at the Wheel Crash?
Car accident cases often settle without needing to sue. When a lawsuit is necessary, few cases advance to trial. A negotiated settlement is the most common way victims recover compensation. However, lawsuits are sometimes needed to move the case forward. Occasionally cases go to a jury trial.
A lawsuit might be necessary when:
- Time is running out based on the applicable deadlines
- The insurance company denies the claim
- The at-fault driver will not accept responsibility
- The lawyer believes there is another reason to sue
Deadlines exist for how long you can wait to sue in a car accident case. State statutes of limitations set these deadlines. Many states offer one to three years to begin a lawsuit. When you work with an attorney, they can explain how long you have to file and let you know if any exceptions to the statute of limitations exist in your case.
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What Damages Are Available When You File a Lawsuit Against a Drowsy Driver?
When you build a case against a drowsy driver for causing your auto accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the losses you suffered. These cases aim to recover money that allows you to pay your bills and get the care you need for any lasting injuries.
As a part of building your lawsuit, your attorney will gather evidence to document your recoverable damages. They can estimate a fair settlement range that includes your economic and non-economic damages, seeking a payout within this range.
Examples of recoverable damages common in traffic accident cases include:
- Medical treatment and related care costs
- Ongoing and future medical needs and support expenses
- Current and future lost income from time missed at work
- Reduced earning capacity if you have lasting injuries
- Property damages, including to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death losses for family members of victims who died
How Falling Asleep at the Wheel Causes Traffic Accidents
When a driver does not have their full attention on the road ahead and the traffic around them, they often make careless mistakes that cause collisions. We often hear of this occurring because of distractions, drugs, or alcohol. However, it also occurs when the driver is too tired. Drowsy driving or dozing off behind the wheel is just as dangerous as texting and driving and worse in some cases.
When a driver falls asleep, even for a second, it greatly increases the crash risk. These collisions could occur because:
- They fail to maintain their lane
- They run off the road and over-correct
- They cause a head-on collision
- They run into the back of stopped or slowed traffic
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates, drowsy driving crashes injured at least 50,000 people in one recent year. Around 800 died. If a driver fell asleep behind the wheel and injured you or took the life of your loved one, you deserve justice.
You Must Prove Liability to File a Lawsuit Against a Drowsy Driver
When a crash occurs, it is usually because one driver acts negligently. Their careless or reckless behavior violates a traffic law and causes the collision. Under most circumstances, they are the liable party in the crash.
In cases where a driver fell asleep behind the wheel, it may seem obvious that they are liable for the accident. Still, you and your attorney must prove their negligence to hold them responsible for paying your accident-related losses. There are four elements of negligence you must prove:
- Duty of care: The driver had a duty of care to uphold, which means keeping you out of harm’s way by staying alert at the wheel.
- Breach of duty: They breached this duty by driving while they were exhausted.
- Causation: Their actions were the proximate cause of the crash.
- Damages: You suffered damages that included financial, physical, and emotional harm because of the drowsy driving accident.
Evidence Can Help Prove the Drowsy Driver’s Negligence
You can use evidence to prove that the driver who fell asleep at the wheel caused your accident. Evidence that can be used to support your lawsuit includes:
- The accident report filed by the police
- Witness statements
- Video or photos of the crash
- Physical evidence
- An accident scene survey
- Accident reconstruction
- Relevant medical records
- Expert testimony
- Documentation of damages
Note that you do not need to show the driver fell asleep at the wheel to hold them liable. Instead, you must show how their action or inaction was the proximate cause of the crash. While having an admission of drowsy driving or a witness statement confirming they fell asleep supports your case, it is not required to recover damages.
Talk to One of Our Car Accident Lawyers Today for Free
The Morris Bart law firm’s attorneys provide free initial consultations for crash victims hurt in our four-state service area. We have 15 offices across the Gulf South, serving Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. We can help you understand your options and act against the at-fault driver. Let us answer your questions and go to work on your lawsuit today.
Talk to a lawyer from our team about your next steps during a free consultation by calling our firm today.
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