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Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim for Being the Victim of Driver Fatigue

Do I have a personal injury claim for being the victim of driver fatigue? You are probably asking this question because you were an innocent victim who was injured in an auto accident that resulted from driver fatigue on the part of the driver of the other vehicle.

The definition of fatigue is, “extreme tiredness, typically resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.” Fatigue is exhaustion or weariness that results from stress, labor or exertion.

It is difficult to know what percentage of auto accidents are attributable to driver fatigue. The primary reason for this is because there is no test for driver fatigue that is comparable to a blood alcohol test for drivers who have been drinking.

Many accidents

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conservatively estimates that driver fatigue causes 100,000 accidents, 1,550 resulting deaths, 71,000 injuries and twelve and a half billion dollars in costs every year. In 2009, Sleep in America, the National Sleep Foundation poll, said that approximately 1.9 million drivers in the United States (1% of all drivers) have had an auto accident or a near miss because of fatigue.

In fact, studies have shown that having not slept for more than 20 hours brings about a driving impairment that is equal to a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.008%. The is the legal BAC level in every state in the United States.

Huge difference

There is one huge difference between a driver driving with driver fatigue and a driver who is impaired by alcohol. A driver who is drinking may be able to do something that will keep an auto accident from occurring. A driver who falls asleep from driver fatigue has no ability and cannot do anything to keep an accident from happening.

There are risk factors for having an auto accident that is caused by driver fatigue. These include:

Driving between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m.
Driving for long periods of time without taking a break
Driving in the mid-afternoon (especially for seniors)
Consuming alcohol
Not having slept for a long period of time
Driving a large number of hours every day or a large number of miles every year
Untreated or undiagnosed sleep disorders
Driving after having taken sedating medications.

There are also several warning signs and symptoms of driver fatigue. Some of these are:

Having a hard time holding your head up
Having heavy eyelids and/or blinking your eyes repeatedly
Tailgating, hitting rumble strips and/or swerving, drifting out of your lane
Missing exits or traffic signs
Yawning over and over again
Not being able to remember the last few miles you have driven
Having a difficult time being able to focus
Feeling irritable, restless or aggressive
Having a hard time keeping from daydreaming or becoming lost in your thoughts.

Again, if you are an innocent victim of an auto accident that resulted from driver fatigue on the part of the driver of the other vehicle, you may have a personal injury claim for your injury. The wise thing to do is to contact a personal injury attorney and have your case evaluated at no cost or obligation to you.

Article written by James Shugart

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