Missourians are hard-working people who lead busy lives. Unfortunately, some people let stress, time, and pressure get the better of them, hitting the road when they are too tired to drive. Statistics show that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, so it is no surprise that tired motorists cause accidents and crashes each and every day.
If you or a loved one was hurt by a tired, drowsy, or sleep-deprived Missouri driver, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving accidents happen with such regularity that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have categorized the phenomenon as a “major problem.” In fact, the government estimates that 91,000 police-reported drowsy driving accidents happen each year. Of course, that is just reported accidents: the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believes the real number could be well over 300,000.
Drowsy driving is a recognized public health threat because drowsy drivers:
- Suffer from impaired reaction times
- Are less aware of their surroundings than well-rested drivers
- May have limited cognitive function
- Can fall asleep at the wheel, losing total control of their vehicle
Proving a Drowsy Driver Caused Your Accident
Nobody should get behind the wheel when they are too tired to drive. Missouri law provides for persons who were injured by drowsy drivers to file insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits to recover the damages suffered in an automobile accident.
However, proving that a tired driver was responsible for your accident can be difficult. After all, if you were in a serious crash, you have no way of knowing whether the at-fault motorist was tired, drunk, or otherwise negligent.
An experienced Missouri car accident attorney can help you investigate the cause of your crash—and show that the other driver was drowsy and thereby liable. We do this by:
- Checking the accident scene for evidence. A lack of skid marks, for instance, can indicate that the driver was not aware of their surroundings and made no effort to brake prior to the collision. Similarly, many newer-model cars have onboard computers that record any and all actions taken in the immediate build-up to a crash.
- Subpoenaing the other driver’s records. If the other driver was taking early-morning classes or working long hours, we can use their employment or school records to make the case that they were likely exhausted at the time of the accident.
- Looking at their prescription history. An otherwise-alert person can be made drowsy by the side effects of prescription medication. We can look at the other driver’s prescription history, as well as on-site evidence, to see whether they had taken medicine that is not safe to take while operating a motor vehicle.
- Investigating the at-fault motorist’s life circumstances. We can submit a legal request for the other driver’s cell phone records, text messages, and credit card history—all of which can show how long they have been awake.
If you were hurt by a drowsy Missouri driver, you need an attorney’s help to get a chance at a fair settlement. In every car accident case, you need to prove that the other driver was negligent in order to get compensation, whether that money is coming from a car insurance company or an individual at-fault motorist. We can assist you in collecting and analyzing all the evidence needed to try and prove your case in court.
Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident in Missouri?
If you've been injured in a car accident, you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cape Girardeau office directly at 573.335.3359 to schedule your initial consultation.