Helpful Information

Driver Fatigue And Car Accidents

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Feb 01, 2021

Driver fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel can cause horrific and catastrophic accidents. As many as 40 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at least once, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). When a driver is overly tired and sleepy, they typically have a reduced reaction time and may make errors of judgment, which can result in accidents. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that there were 91,000 police-reported crashes involving drowsy drivers in 2017. According to the NHTSA, crashes due to fatigued drivers led to approximately 50,000 people suffering injuries and almost 800 fatalities.

If you or a loved one experienced any kind of injuries or losses due to a fatigued driver, you should contact Labrum Law Firm for a complimentary case review at (615) 338-9500 to help you recover compensation and receive justice.

Signs of Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue can be legally challenging to prove, especially if there are no eyewitnesses to a car accident. In general, drivers can be more prone to suffer from fatigue late at night and in the early morning. Those spending long hours on often monotonous roads, such as truck drivers, may have a higher risk of drowsy driving. Signs of driver fatigue can include:

  • Drifting in and out of lanes
  • Slow reaction times
  • Driving speed variations
  • Making driving errors
  • Yawning and head bobbing
  • Ignoring traffic signs and signals

If you notice that any driver near you exhibits any of these types of behaviors, make sure to stay as far away from them on the roadway as possible.

What Causes Driver Fatigue?

Fatigue can be caused by a variety of different factors. A shift worker, for example, who was awake all night at their job, can experience extreme fatigue on the drive home. Other reasons for fatigue can include:

  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Being awake for long periods or even days
  • The time of day
  • Driving on straight and/or monotonous roadways for hours
  • Suffering from sleep disorders
  • Taking medication that induces fatigue and drowsiness

Other Driver-Related Causes of Car Accidents


It is important to note that driver fatigue is not the only driver-related reason for car accidents. However, driver fatigue can lead to poor decision making and combine with other causes that result in a car accident. In fact, the NHTSA states that as many as 94 percent of car accidents happen due to a critical driver-related reason, which can include:

  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to obey traffic signs or rules of the road
  • Distracted driving

Speeding, as well as distracted driving, cause the most fatalities in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eight people die every day in this country due to a distracted driver. Distracted driving can include texting, talking to passengers, listening to loud music, or eating and drinking. Accidents can also happen due to a combination of driver errors, such as a fatigued driver speeding or ignoring traffic signals.

Proving negligence and fault after an accident with a fatigued driver can be legally complex and difficult, especially if you are the only person who witnessed erratic driving just before the crash. Contact an experienced car accident attorney at Labrum Law Firm to help ensure your legal rights remain protected.

Types of Injuries Related to Car Accidents Resulting From Driver Fatigue

Accidents due to fatigued drivers sometimes impact only the drowsy drivers themselves, especially if their car drifts off the road in the early hours, causing a single-car crash. However, crashes can also involve other cars on busy highways or urban roads. Injuries from an accident with a drowsy driver can include:

  • Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Fractures
  • Internal organ damage and bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Psychological distress such as post-traumatic stress disorder

Accidents with a fatigued driver, especially when they happen at high speeds, can also lead to fatalities.

Compensation Following a Car Accident Due To Driver Fatigue

Victims of fatigued drivers have the right to pursue justice for their injuries and losses experienced as a result of their car accident. Damages available in car accident cases will vary according to a victim's injuries and monetary losses. However, some of the different types of compensation available to victims can include the following:

  • Medical expenses and future medical bills
  • Medical devices and accessories
  • Loss of income and future income losses
  • Repair or replacement of car and other property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of the quality of life
  • Punitive damages

Every victim will have different facts and circumstances and an experienced personal injury attorney can help you better understand the amount of compensation you may have a legal right to after your car accident involving a drowsy driver.

How A Car Accident Attorney Can Protect Your Legal Rights

After a car accident, victims impacted may wonder whether they should attempt to settle a claim on their own or consult with a car accident attorney for assistance. In many cases, particularly complicated accidents or those involving fatigued drivers, hiring an experienced car accident attorney can be advantageous. An experienced attorney can help you progress your claim in a number of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Communicating and negotiating with the at-fault driver's insurance company
  • Gathering evidence proving liability and conducting an independent investigation
  • Calculating your damages so you receive the full amount of compensation available under the
  • Helping to organize and obtain medical records and bills to prove your losses
  • Negotiating a fair settlement with insurance adjusters or the at-fault party's lawyer
  • Representing you in court if the insurance company does not provide a fair settlement offer.

Visit With Labrum Law Firm After your Car Accident Involving Driver Fatigue

Suffering injuries and losses in a serious car accident resulting from driver fatigue can be emotionally distressing, physically painful, and costly. While recovering from injuries should always be the number one priority, it is important to note that there are deadlines for filing personal injury claims. Therefore, getting legal advice as soon as possible after an accident can protect your legal rights as well as help you pursue compensation. The attorneys at Labrum Law Firm can advise you about your legal rights and your options for receiving compensation from a fatigued driver. Contact us today for a free case review with one of our compassionate team members at (615) 338-9500.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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