The consequences of driver fatigue may be tragic. Driver fatigue may happen because a driver did not sleep enough, has an untreated sleep disorder, takes medications that have drowsiness as a side effect, drinks alcohol, or fails to take breaks between shifts. Fatigue may make it hard for drivers to adhere to road rules, react quickly enough, and make good judgment calls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that drowsy driving caused 72,000 crashes nationwide in 2013, many of which resulted in injuries and deaths. If you have been hurt due to driver fatigue, Knoxville car accident lawyer Mark C. Hartsoe and the staff at the Hartsoe Law Firm may be able to help you recover compensation.Bringing a Personal Injury Claim Based on Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is particularly common in drivers who use medications that have drowsiness as a side effect, drivers who are unable to get enough sleep, commercial drivers who work long hours, and shift workers who work night shifts. If a fatigued driver injures you, you most likely will have a case for negligence.
You will need to establish the driver’s duty of care (to drive safely), the driver’s breach of duty (negligence), causation (you were injured from the wreck), and damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, and more). All drivers are supposed to use reasonable care while driving, and this means that if they are fatigued, they should not be driving, or if they notice a problem while driving, they should pull over to avoid endangering others. Failing to do either of these two things is likely to be seen as a breach of the duty of care.
If a fatigued driver was working for someone else while driving, you may have grounds to bring their employer into the lawsuit by asserting vicarious liability, a form of indirect liability. When an employee is negligent in the course and scope of employment, the employer may be held responsible for the employee's negligence. It is necessary to first establish the employee's negligence. In some cases, employers may also be held liable for negligent hiring or supervising. For example, if an employee has a history of accidents arising out of drowsy driving, and the employer puts them on the road as part of their work duties anyway, the employer may be deemed negligent.
If you can establish a fatigued driver's liability, you may be able to recover compensatory damages. These typically include economic losses, such as medical costs, lost wages, household services, and rehabilitation. They usually also include noneconomic losses, such as loss of enjoyment and pain and suffering. Noneconomic damages tend to be subjective and depend partly on the emotional harm that a particular jury believes would have arisen from a certain type of accident. An experienced trial attorney may make a big difference in the size of this component of damages.Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Knoxville to Assert Your Rights
The injuries after an accident caused by driver fatigue may be serious. Many people are unable to afford to take time off and obtain medical care without obtaining compensation from the driver who was responsible for their injuries. Knoxville car accident attorney Mark C. Hartsoe is ready to represent you in a lawsuit for damages so that you can focus on your physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm at 865-804-1011 or contact us via our online form to arrange a free appointment with a motor vehicle collision lawyer. We represent victims and their families throughout East Tennessee, including in Knox, Blount, Monroe, Loudon, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Campbell, Hamblen, Greene, Anderson, Cumberland, and Fentress Counties.