Driver Fatigue Car Accidents

Chicago Lawyers Assisting Victims of Serious Crashes

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drivers who only sleep five or six hours during a 24-hour window are doubly likely to crash as drivers who sleep at least seven hours. Many drivers fail to pull over when they find themselves nodding off on the road. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago car accident attorneys may be able to help you recover damages after a driver fatigue car accident.

Driver Fatigue Car Accidents and Resulting Claims

Driver fatigue crashes can be challenging to quantify. Unlike drunk drivers, who can be asked to take a chemical test, it is not straightforward to test a driver to determine whether he or she was excessively tired on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), accidents caused by fatigue happen around 100,000 times a year, and of these a sizeable number result in catastrophic injuries or even death. Often, they are results of a driver's inability to take evasive actions while on the road. For example, if a driver were alert and started to move across the centerline in the road, he would quickly course correct to avoid a head-on collision. However, a fatigued driver would likely crash because of failing to make a course correction.

In order to hold a fatigued driver liable, you will need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the other driver owed you a duty of care, there was a breach of the duty of care, and actual and proximate causation led to the damages. It can be challenging to prove that a driver was sleepy, but in some cases, drivers do make these admissions at the scene of the accident or to the police.

Sometimes fatigued driving causes multi-car collisions. For example, if there is a traffic jam, and a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel, he may slam into a line of cars, resulting in a chain reaction involving numerous accident victims as one car bumps into the rear end of another. However, in other cases, a fatigued driving accident may result in a single-car collision. If passengers in the car are injured, they may be able to sue the fatigued driver and recover compensation from his or her insurance carrier.

Sometimes, even when liability is clear, a fatigued driver may argue that another driver or several other drivers were at fault. The jury will evaluate the arguments and evidence and determine the total damages. However, it will also assign a percentage of fault to those believed to be at fault. Your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if the total damages are $100,000, and you are 25% at fault, while the fatigued driver is 75% at fault, you may be able to recover $75,000. Under Illinois law, you will be barred from recovering any damages if you are over 50% at fault.

Damages that your attorney may be able to recover include economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses are tangible losses, such as lost wages, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and replacement services. Noneconomic losses are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment.

Get Advice from a Car Accident Lawyer at Our Chicago Firm

After a serious car accident that causes injuries, you should call the police to the scene. While the other driver may not admit fatigue to you, the police officer may be able to obtain this information. If you were involved in a driver fatigue car accident in Chicago, you should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we also represent accident victims in Champaign, Quincy, Aurora, Rockford, and Springfield, as well as elsewhere in Cook, Adams, Sangamon, Champaign, Winnebago, and Kane Counties. You can call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.