Liability for Car Accidents Involving Drivers with Sleep Disorders

Nobody gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle or buckles into a passenger seat with the expectation of sustaining serious injuries in a car crash, but accidents happen for various reasons. In most situations, motor vehicle collisions are the result of another driver’s negligence. In many auto accident cases, it may be relatively easy or obvious to determine fault in the crash, especially if a motorist was cited for intoxicated driving or was caught texting while driving in the moments before the collision. Yet proving fault can be more complicated when a drowsy driver caused the collision.

Beyond the mere fact of drowsy driving, many fatigued motorists suffer from both diagnosed and undiagnosed sleep disorders that ultimately may have played a role in causing the wreck. If you were seriously injured in a collision caused by a drowsy driver with a sleep disorder, what should you know? Our Rochester car accident lawyers want to provide you with some of the information you will need in order to seek financial compensation for your losses.

Drowsy Drivers with Sleep Disorders Are Known to Cause Collisions

You should know that a variety of studies have shown that drowsy or fatigued drivers can be at fault routinely for motor vehicle collisions and can be held accountable even if they did not realize how tired they were when they made the decision to drive. According to an article in MD Edge, drowsy drivers who have sleep disorders have been shown to be at a significantly higher rate of causing a motor vehicle collision, a near-accident, or “unsafe maneuvering prior to such events.”

Researchers at Virginia Tech University studied drivers who had previously been diagnosed with a variety of sleep disorders, including the following:

  • Narcolepsy;
  • Sleep apnea;
  • Insomnia;
  • Shift work sleep disorder;
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS);
  • Periodic limb movement disorder; and
  • Migraine.

The researchers analyzed drivers with these specific disorders since these diagnosed conditions “have been linked in previous studies to a higher risk of vehicle collisions, according to the article. After assessing nearly 650 drivers, the researchers determined that all of the conditions listed above increased a person’s risk of a serious motor vehicle collision or near-miss, with some conditions affecting accident risk more than others. For example, drivers with restless leg syndrome are about 1.5 times as likely as a driver without a sleep condition to cause a crash, yet motorists with narcolepsy are 9 times as likely to be involved in a crash.

Proving Driver Liability in a Drowsy Driving Crash Affected By a Sleep Disorder

Regardless of whether a driver has been diagnosed with a sleep condition, a drowsy driver who causes a collision can be liable for the crash and for any serious injuries you sustained. Of course, in order to seek compensation in Rochester for any injuries in a car crash, it is essential to show that your injuries are serious enough to meet the required “serious injury threshold” under New York State law.

If you were seriously injured in a collision caused by a fatigued driver with a sleep disorder, it will be critical to work with a Rochester car accident lawyer to prove first that you meet the serious injury threshold required by state law in order to file a lawsuit. Then, you will need assistance from an experienced attorney who can gather evidence to prove that the drowsy driver was at fault for the collision, especially if the at-fault driver was previously diagnosed with a sleep disorder or showed signs of a sleep disorder that should have been diagnosed.

Contact Our Rochester Car Accident Lawyers Today

When a serious car accident happens, an experienced and compassionate Rochester auto accident lawyer can help you to seek the compensation you deserve. Contact King Law to learn more about how we can assist you.


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