Liability for Falling Asleep at the Wheel in Florida

Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are a danger to themselves and others. In fact, drowsy driving causes nearly 100,000 motor vehicle accidents each year. Fortunately, those who have been injured by drowsy drivers may be entitled to financial compensation. In order to file a successful lawsuit with the assistance of a Florida personal injury attorney, however, the driver who caused the accident must first be proven negligent. Below is an overview of the ways in which liability for falling asleep at the wheel in Florida may be established.

Establishing liability

In Florida, if a driver falls asleep at the wheel and injures or kills someone, the accident victim and his or her family may sue to recover damages. Generally, the liability of the driver will depend on whether it can be proven that he or she was negligent. To prevail on a negligence claim, the victim of a drowsy driving accident must establish the following elements:

  • The defendant owed the victim a duty not to drive while drowsy
  • The defendant breached this duty
  • The plaintiff suffered injury because of the accident
  • The plaintiff incurred damages because of the accident

There are several ways to prove negligence in drowsy driving cases, including:

  • The driver experienced a long period of sleep deprivation prior to the accident – Sleep deprivation can serve as evidence that a driver was tired.
  • Evidence that the driver failed to hit the brakes or veered out of his or her lane prior to the accident – This can be proven by a lack of skid marks at the scene of the accident.
  • Cell phone records that show a driver traveled a long distance immediately before the accident – Cell phone records that demonstrate a driver travelled a long distance prior to a crash can provide circumstantial evidence that the driver was tired.
  • Evidence that the driver was asleep at the time of the accident – This can be difficult to prove without eyewitness testimony.
  • Prescriptions – Some medications can cause drowsiness. If an accident victim can prove that the other driver was on medication at the time of the crash, this can serve as proof that the driver’s drowsiness caused the accident.

Contact a Pensacola personal injury attorney

If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident in Pensacola, Florida, you need an experienced Florida personal injury attorney on your side. Located in Pensacola, Florida, Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A., has over seventy years of combined experience representing car accident victims in Northwest Florida and Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Northwest Florida, Staples Ellis is here to help you overcome the harm you have endured. Please contact our office as soon as possible to set up a consultation with one of our talented attorneys.

Posted in: Personal Injury