Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer in Pasadena, CA
Drowsy driving is a serious threat to public safety. On average, there are about 6,000 crashes in California every year that are attributed to driver fatigue.
The national picture is equally disturbing. A National Sleep Foundation poll reports that 60 percent of U.S. drivers admit to consistently hitting the roads while tired. More than a third of those people acknowledge falling asleep behind the wheel. In addition, certain studies have even shown that driving while tired is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
Californians who are injured or killed by a fatigued driver can seek compensation for their losses through a personal injury claim. Get a tough Pasadena drowsy driving lawyer on your side. Contact the Law Offices of Pius Joseph today for a free consultation.
What Are the Dangers of Driving While Tired?
Fatigued driving poses a great risk to motorists and everyone around them. Even a few seconds of dozing could turn deadly if a driver swerves in traffic or onto sidewalks, putting vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and bicyclists in harm’s way.
Being tired dulls the senses and makes it difficult for sleepy drivers to focus on their surroundings. Fatigue can also make drivers forgetful. For example, a tired driver may attempt to change lanes on the highway but forget to check his or her blind spots, sideswiping a nearby vehicle at high speeds.
Drowsy drivers may also:
- Have difficulty remembering the last miles they have driven
- Hit rumble strips frequently as they drift onto the shoulder of the road
- Miss exits, red lights, and stop signs
- Yawn and blink frequently
- Have trouble keeping their heads up
Of course, the biggest risk of driving while tired is falling asleep at the wheel. This opens the door for any type of car accident to occur, such as head-on collisions, T-bone accidents, rear-end crashes, and rollover accidents.
California Drowsy Driving Laws
There are no drowsy driving laws in California. That’s because it can be challenging to prove that someone’s fatigue is the direct cause of an accident. Unlike impaired driving, there is no roadside or medical test that can show beyond a shadow of a doubt that a driver was sleepy.
Even without actual statutes in place, California still has negligence laws. Negligence is a careless action (or inaction) that puts other people at risk.
All drivers have a duty to keep themselves and others around them safe while on the roads. When they fail to do this, they can be held liable.
Because drowsy driving is both dangerous and preventable, anyone found to be driving while tired can be held accountable for paying compensation for the losses they inflict upon others. This may include money for medical expenses, lost income, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering, among others.
Drunk Driving vs. Drowsy Driving
Experts claim that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. It’s not hard to understand why. Like a drunk driver, a tired driver is less aware of his or her surroundings and has reduced reaction times.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people that have been awake for 18 consecutive hours will drive similarly to someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent. The legal BAC limit in California is 0.08 percent. Individuals that have been awake for 24 consecutive hours will drive as though they have a BAC of 0.10 percent.
It can be fairly easy to spot a suspected drunk driver. Intoxicated drivers often show characteristic behaviors that make it clear that they are impaired. For example, they may swerve or slow down excessively.
A drowsy driver can be harder to spot. Since they do not realize they are nodding off, drowsy driving crashes may happen at higher speeds. There may be no signs of braking or an attempt to correct after drifting into another lane. For this reason, there are few warning signs that give other motorists a sense of oncoming danger.
How to Prove a Driver Was Fatigued After a Pasadena Drowsy Driving Accident
One of the best ways to prove a driver was tired after an accident is while you are still at the scene. The driver may admit to being tired and not seeing your car or a red light. This is one reason it is so crucial that you call law enforcement to the scene. After a negligent driver makes these types of statements, a police officer will include them within the official report, which can later be used to support your injury claim.
Fortunately, you do not have to rely on the negligent driver alone to prove that they were tired at the time of the collision. Physical evidence, such as a lack of skid marks, can show that the drowsy driver did not attempt to stop to avoid a crash.
Cell phone records can also be used to establish that a driver was fatigued. Most smartphones are equipped with GPS systems. Using the information gained from a phone, a lawyer can establish that the driver was on the road for a long time and likely drowsy at the time of the crash.
Toxicology reports may indicate that a person was under the influence of medications that cause sleepiness. In addition, the at-fault driver’s medical records could indicate a history of a sleep disorder that could have played a role in the wreck.
Witness statements can also be compelling in drowsy driving accident cases. An eyewitness may have spotted the driver asleep at the wheel. Co-workers might testify that the driver had admitted to being exhausted.
In addition, employment records may indicate that the driver had been working extra overtime shifts or unusual hours that could have contributed to his or her driving while tired.
How Can a Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney Help My Case?
It is always advised that accident victims work with a car accident attorney in Pasadena. But because drowsy driving cases do not always have clear-cut evidence, victims need a lawyer who can conduct an investigation and subpoena records that would not be readily available to the public.
Depending on the circumstances of the crash, an attorney can also draft letters to ensure that important evidence is not erased or destroyed.
For example, truck driver fatigue is a cause of many drowsy driving accidents. But truck companies are allowed to destroy some records after a certain period of time, such as driver logbooks. Logs record how long drivers are on the road before taking mandatory rest breaks. Failing to comply is a violation of federal law and could help your case. But if those logbooks are destroyed, that could hurt your claim.
A lawyer can also help in accidents where more than one driver may also be at fault. A car accident attorney will consider the whole accident, the contributing factors, and identify every possible party who is to blame. In those cases, you may receive money from multiple insurers, not just the drowsy driver’s.
A lawyer can also estimate what your case is worth. Placing a full and fair value on an accident claim is not a number that a lawyer thinks up on the spot. To determine an appropriate case value, a drowsy driving accident attorney will look at the results of cases similar to yours to see how much compensation those victims received.
The attorney will also calculate the total value of your medical bills, lost income and bonuses if you were unable to work, and any other loss you sustained. Putting a dollar amount on less tangible damages, like pain and suffering, is not an exact science. Insurance companies are counting on accident victims to undervalue their claims. Working with an attorney can prevent you from being under-compensated.
An Experienced Drowsy Driving Lawyer in Pasadena Can Help You Today
If you have been hurt by a fatigued driver, reach out to a Pasadena drowsy driving lawyer at the Law Offices of Pius Joseph today. Attorney Pius Joseph is a battle-tested trial lawyer who has secured top-dollar verdicts and settlements for injured Californians.
Learn more about how we can help by calling or filling out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.