A lot of motorists don’t realize that fatigue affects cognitive function, judgement, and reaction time in much the same way that alcohol does. As such, those who would never even consider getting behind the wheel after sipping a single cocktail don’t think twice about driving after being awake for 18 consecutive hours.
Unfortunately, doing so is like operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.05. What’s more, those who have been awake for 24 hours straight function about as well as people with a BAC of 0.10, which is higher than the legal limit of 0.08.
If you were hurt in a wreck caused by a drowsy driver, you probably have grounds for legal action. In order to recover a payout, though, you’re going to have to prove that they were to blame for the crash.
Generally speaking, that means convincing the insurance adjuster the motorist had nodded off behind the wheel. Evidence that may help you do so includes:
1. Eyewitness Testimony
Because it can be unreliable, eyewitness testimony is not considered irrefutable evidence of fault; however, statements from other motorists, their passengers, or pedestrians who were in the vicinity at the time of the accident can corroborate your own testimony. This, in turn, will boost your credibility in the eyes of the insurer.
2. Black Box Data
Unless the other motorist was driving an incredibly old vehicle, there’s a good chance it was equipped with an event data recorder (EDR). Often called “black boxes,” EDRs log a host of operational variables, from speed to brake application to seat belt usage.
If the data from the day in question indicates that the motorist did not make any evasive maneuvers to avoid the collision—for example, if they didn’t even slam the brakes at the last second—you can use it to support your claim that they had fallen asleep behind the wheel.
The black box data will also let you know how long the motorist had been on the road. If they were in the middle of a fairly long trip, for example, you might be able to use that information to demonstrate that they were most likely drowsy by the time their path crossed with yours.
3. The Official Police Report
The report drafted by officers who responded to the scene may contain critical details that bolster your claim. For example, if police suspected the driver who struck you was nodding off, they should have made a note of it in their report.
There’s also a chance the responding officers obtained a confession from the motorist admitting to fatigue. Therefore, your legal team will want to review this document closely before commencing their investigation.
Speak with a Jackson Car Accident Attorney
At Brown Bass & Jeter, PLLC, we have the knowledge, resources, and experience needed to conduct investigations that yield concrete evidence of liability and damages. If you were hurt in a wreck, get the full force of the firm backing your every move, so you can pursue the maximum payout possible. To schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Jackson, submit the Contact Form on our website or call 601-487-8448.