A Guide to Proving Truck Accidents Due to Drowsy Driving

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Have you ever felt so tired that you couldn’t help but close your eyes, even if you tried not to? You probably felt drowsy. Drowsiness is a state of being excessively weary or exhausted, frequently accompanied by a strong desire to sleep. It is a normal physiological response to the need for rest and recovery, usually caused by little sleep or certain medications.

Unfortunately, drowsiness can impair a person’s cognitive ability and alertness. So, a driver experiencing extreme drowsiness may cause a crash. This is even worse for a truck accident. The collision caused by fatigued driving may lead to catastrophic injuries and even death. 

If a drowsy truck driver hits you, this guide will help you prove that the accident results from their fatigued driving. 

What is Drowsy Driving and How Is It Dangerous?

Drowsy driving is defined as operating a vehicle while overly sleepy, exhausted, or having difficulty remaining alert. This act can lead to several health risks that may impair the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle safely. These effects include:

  • Decreased reaction time
  • Inability to make sound decisions
  • Reduced alertness
  • Impaired coordination

According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 out of 25 adult drivers aged 18 years or older claimed to have experienced falling asleep behind the wheel within the last 30 days.

Every driver is at risk of experiencing driver fatigue, although specific individuals are more prone to it than others. Unfortunately, one of the most common drivers who experience drowsy driving is a commercial truck driver. 

Because of their extended hours of uninterrupted driving, truck drivers covering long distances with unpredictable work hours are especially prone to experiencing driver fatigue. Despite the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep for adults, most commercial truck drivers typically only get around five hours of sleep each night.

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities are attributed to drowsy driving annually. Furthermore, research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that drowsiness plays a role in up to 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes involving airbag deployment, injury, or significant property damage.

Due to the significant number of accidents due to fatigued driving, drivers should prioritize obtaining enough sleep before traveling to avoid the risks associated with drowsy driving. 

Guide to Proving Truck Accidents Due to Drowsy Driving

If a negligent truck driver hits you, you may file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for the damages. However, while some violations, such as speeding or impaired driving, are easy to prove, others, like drowsy driving, may become more challenging. How can you prove that the truck driver dozed off, leading to the accident? 

As such, this guide will help you justify your claim when proving driver fatigue in a truck crash:

Seeking Medical Attention

Your foremost concern should be your health and safety following a truck accident. In the aftermath of a crash, it is advisable to relocate to a secure area, evaluate potential injuries, and promptly seek medical care. 

Making your health a priority not only guarantees that injuries are attended to right away but also helps you keep track of all of your overall medical costs if you need to file a claim. 

Likewise, it is crucial to get medical attention, even if your injuries seem minor. This is because some injuries may not show symptoms right away. When filing personal injury claims, keeping comprehensive records becomes crucial when proving the cause of your injuries.

Gathering Evidence

When filing a claim for the truck accident, the court will need you to prove that the crash resulting in your injuries was caused by the truck accident. Otherwise, they will dismiss your case. This is why you must gather as much evidence as possible at the accident scene. 

Usually, the following indicators suggest that the truck driver was drowsy during the collision: 

  • Erratic driving patterns
  • Yawning and blinking
  • Inconsistent speed
  • Drifting lanes
  • Missing signs and signals
  • Slouching or nodding heads

So, evidence, such as photos of the accident scene showing skid marks and signals around the area, will help you show that the crash was due to driver fatigue. You can also gather witness testimony and request a police report to justify your claim.

Reporting the Truck Accident

Authorities responding to the accident scene must create a report about the crash. In most cases, this contains the crucial details to prove your case, such as the drivers’ contact information, the accident’s time and date, violations by the drivers involved, and an account stating how they think the crash occurred.

So, if the accident report shows that the truck driver was drowsy at the time of the collision, this report can help speed up the legal process. This is why it is essential to report an accident, no matter the severity of the damage.

Filing a Truck Accident Claim

A truck accident claim allows you to receive compensation for the damages incurred. Typically, the settlement covers several losses, such as medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and lost wages. 

However, other damages, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering, might be complicated to prove, especially if you have limited knowledge about the legal process. It is best to contact the top truck accident lawyer who can assess the details of the crash and determine the total damages to maximize your compensation.

If you incur severe injuries from the truck accident, they can also defend your case while you focus on your recovery.

Protecting Your Rights in a Truck Accident 

Even though you can file a truck accident claim to receive compensation, some complexities may hinder you from doing so.

For instance, a fatigued truck driver hits you. More often than not, they are drowsy due to an extensive work schedule. You can pursue a case against the truck company in such a situation. However, such large companies often have robust legal teams to defend them from such claims. How, then, will you fight back?

A trucking accident injury lawyer can go against the truck company and negotiate on your behalf. They will ensure that you will get fair compensation based on the total damages of the truck accident.