Proving Negligence In A Drowsy Driving Accident

This post is written on behalf of Law Offices of Mauro Fiore, Jr.

People fall asleep while driving more often than you would think. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4% of participants in a survey involving almost 150,000 adults stated that they fell asleep behind the wheel at least once in the previous month.

When a car crash occurs because of drowsy driving, it may be possible to argue a successful auto accident claim. Here are some important facts to note.

Impairment

Fatigue and sleepiness cause some of the same physical and mental effects as alcohol impairment. People who are drowsy are not able to pay full attention to the road, have a slower reaction time and have impaired judgment. This may cause them to drift across lanes or fail to stop in traffic.

Drivers may become fatigue-impaired if they get fewer than six hours of sleep, take medications, have a sleep disorder or work long shifts or night shifts.

Negligence

Accident victims can also file a claim that the other driver was negligent. In order to successfully argue a claim of negligence, the claimant must prove four main elements:

  1. The respondent had a duty of care
  2. The respondent did not uphold the duty of care
  3. The lack of duty resulted in injury
  4. The claimant suffered damages due to the injury

It may be difficult to prove that a driver fell asleep at the wheel and caused an auto accident because after the crash, adrenaline seriously alters the physical and mental state of those involved.

Standard of Sleepiness Proof

The standard of liability in a car accident will depend on whether it is a civil or criminal case. A driver who allegedly fell asleep could be charged with reckless driving or even negligent homicide if someone is killed in the accident. And some state laws require prosecutors to prove “serious blameworthiness,” “moral blameworthiness,” or “dangerous speeding” in order to obtain a conviction for negligent homicide related to drowsy driving. And they must prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, which can be a very high standard to meet.

In a civil case, a plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which generally means that it is more likely than not that the defendant was negligent. Although this is a lower bar to meet, car accident cases can be complicated and may require the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

As with any auto accident claim, it is important to collect proper evidence and maintain copies of any paperwork submitted. For example, some police officers may ask drivers how much sleep they got in the 24 hours before the crash, and this information may be available in the police report. If there are witnesses who noticed the driver nodding off or driving poorly before the accident, that may also support the claim.

Updated on June 25, 2020. FindLaw explains how to hold someone accountable for negligence in a drowsy driving accident.

No Fee Unless We WIN!

Get your free case review by calling now.
Free Consultation

Share this post with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
brands making autonomous vehicles liable for accidents?

Who Is Liable In A Self-Driving Car Accident?

The steady rise of the self-driving car is a marvel of modern engineering. Every day, companies like Amazon, Apple and Tesla continue to advance the technologies that will allow autonomous vehicles to make decisions independently. While many appreciate the idea of a car that doesn’t need a driver, there’s a serious debate over the safety

Read More »
criminal minds tv show sexual harassment lawsuit

Sexual Harassment: California Makes An Example of Criminal Minds Backers

While most of the entertainment industry is quiet right now, one huge piece of news dropped recently. The state of California has filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against the long-running show Criminal Minds. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing is suing every studio and executive producer involved with the show on accusations of shielding director

Read More »
uber lyft drivers recognized as employees employment lawyer los angeles

Uber and Lyft Drivers Are Now Officially Recognized as Employees

Uber and Lyft, who for years were able to skirt minimum wage, payroll tax and other requirements, have found themselves on a dead-end street thanks to action by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In a serious defeat for the mega rideshare companies, a new ruling has been passed forcing them to treat drivers as

Read More »
covid-19 premises liability lawsuits attorneys los angeles

Coronavirus Lawsuits On The Horizon As Businesses Put Patrons At Risk

The COVID-19 pandemic has put everyone in the country at risk of infection. However, life must still go on. It’s still necessary to get food, medicine, and other important supplies. That means that one way or another, leaving home and heading to the grocery store or pharmacy is unavoidable for most people. The least these

Read More »
Scroll to Top

Our Phone lines are open!

Get your
questions answered immediately by a Los Angeles attorney