In New York, drowsy driving results in thousands of injuries and fatalities each year. According to statistics collected by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University of Albany’s Rockefeller College in 2020, “fatigued driving” or “driver fell asleep” appeared on police reports nearly 4,000 times.
Operating a vehicle while tired is just as dangerous as speeding, running a red light, and texting behind the wheel. Moreover, drowsy driving accidents are entirely preventable.
How Does Drowsy Driving Cause Car Accidents?
Many drivers may not realize how hazardous it can be to get behind the wheel while drowsy. However, nodding off for just one moment while driving can have a catastrophic impact. Fatigued drivers pose a significant safety risk to themselves, their passengers, others on the road, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Driving while sleep deprived can have effects on the body that are similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. Fatigue, whether caused by working a long shift, an untreated sleep disorder, consuming alcohol, taking medications, or staying out too late, can slow a driver’s reaction time. It can also make them pay less attention to conditions on the road and affect their decision-making ability.
Injuries Caused by Drowsy Driving Accidents
Crashes caused by fatigued driving can lead to head-on collisions, sideswipes, rear-ends, and multi-vehicle pileups. These types of accidents can be severe, resulting in serious injuries that may require extensive medical treatment, surgery, physical therapy, and time lost from work. A victim might also suffer lifelong disability or permanent disfigurement as a consequence of someone else’s decision to drive while drowsy.
Some common injuries sustained in drowsy driving accidents include:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Brain damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones and fractures
- Lacerations and disfiguration
No-fault benefits may cover up to $50,000 for a victim’s medical treatment. However, this is rarely enough to cover the full extent of expenses incurred for emergency room treatment, hospital bills, doctor’s visits, chiropractic care, diagnostic testing, and other costs. In these cases, it may be necessary to commence a personal injury action.
Recovering Your Damages in a Fatigued Driving Accident
To recover economic and non-economic damages in a lawsuit for a drowsy driving accident, liability must first be determined. Unlike in a car accident involving drug or alcohol use, there isn’t a scientific test to measure drowsiness. But there is still other evidence that can be used in a personal injury case to demonstrate a fatigued driver’s negligence and hold them accountable for the injuries they caused.
For example, a lack of skid marks at the scene of the accident may show that the at-fault driver did not brake or attempt to slow down before striking the other vehicle. Medical records may show that the negligent driver was taking medication that can cause fatigue. In addition, dashcam footage, phone records, credit card receipts, and witness statements can all be helpful evidence to prove negligence.
If liability is established in a personal injury action, a victim of a drowsy driving accident may be entitled to recover their unreimbursed medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs incurred in connection with the accident, lost wages, and future lost earnings. They may also be eligible to receive compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced due to their accident-related injuries.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you were hurt in a fatigued driving accident, it’s critical to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney by your side who can ensure you obtain the maximum monetary recovery available for your injuries. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has more than 30 years of experience not only fighting for the rights of car accident victims in New York, but also securing favorable outcomes on their behalf.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.