Liability for Accidents Caused By Driver Fatigue
An alarming number of accidents occur because of driver fatigue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that as many as 72,000 crashes happen in the United States each year because of fatigue. NHTSA says that 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths occur on U.S. roads each year from driver fatigue. Even these statistics probably understate the extent of driver exhaustion on the streets.
When you’re hurt in an accident, you should ask yourself if driver fatigue may be to blame. If a tired driver contributes to the crash, you may deserve compensation for your injuries. Your car accident attorney can help you determine if another driver’s fatigue may give rise to legal liability for your accident. Here’s what you need to know about driver fatigue and Nevada car accidents.
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Is Driver Fatigue a Grounds for Legal Liability in Nevada?
Yes, driver fatigue can be a grounds for legal liability in Nevada. All drivers have an obligation to drive in a reasonable and prudent manner. When a driver chooses to take to the roads when they’re not in a safe condition to drive for any reason, their choice may be grounds for legal liability. Nevada law recognizes that driving a vehicle is an inherently dangerous activity. It’s up to each driver to know when their fatigue reaches a point that it’s not reasonable for them to drive. When a traffic crash occurs because of driver fatigue, the driver responsible may have legal liability to victims for their injuries.
Driver fatigue is one form of negligence. Negligence is the legal standard for determining liability for a personal injury traffic crash. When driver fatigue amounts to a lack of reasonable care, the driver’s behavior falls short of Nevada legal requirements. If you can show the other driver is negligent in any way, including fatigue, they may owe you fair compensation for a range of damages that include pain and suffering.
Examples of Driver Fatigue
There are many ways that a driver may show fatigue while on the roads. Fatigue lowers a driver’s overall ability to operate safely on the roads. Here are some ways that driver fatigue may impact driving skills:
- Reduced attention
- Delayed reaction times
- Poor judgment in reacting to situations on the road
- Blurry vision
- Decreased motor skills
- Abnormally slow or fast speeds
- Additional impairment from medication
- Less patience for other drivers on the road
- Lane drifting
- Rolling stops
How Do You Prove Driver Fatigue in a Nevada Traffic Crash Case?
When a crash occurs, it may be fairly easy to tell what driving errors contribute to the accident. For example, it may be simple to prove that someone caused the crash by drifting over the center line. But it may not be so easy to show that the collision is the result of driver fatigue. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to prove that the other driver was in poor condition at the time of the crash.
For example, you can conduct discovery to learn what was going on in the other driver’s life at the time of the accident. You can ask them questions directly, you can ask for their work records, or you can even speak to family and friends. Your attorney can help you build the case for driver fatigue if it may be a factor in your crash.
Is Fatigued Driving a Crime in Nevada?
Nevada does not have a state law that directly prohibits driving while fatigued. There is a state law that prohibits reckless driving, Nevada Revised Statute 484B.653. But Nevada’s definition of reckless driving doesn’t always fit driving while fatigued. Reckless driving is the willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Certainly, when a person tries to drive a vehicle after long periods without sleep, their actions may amount to reckless driving. Not all fatigued driving is a reckless disregard of safety, but in some extreme cases, fatigued driving is reckless driving.
Even if Nevada’s reckless driving laws don’t fit, many Nevada municipalities outlaw careless driving. The City of Las Vegas is one municipality that bans careless driving. Las Vegas’ careless driving law is Las Vegas Municipal Code 11.22.02. The law prohibits driving within the city limits in any careless or imprudent manner. Fatigued driving likely falls under this prohibition. In addition, Las Vegas Municipal Code 11.22.010 prohibits driving in any manner in which the driver doesn’t devote their full time and attention to operating their vehicle.
If a driver violates a state or municipal law, the law violation may be strong evidence of negligence. If law enforcement issues an infraction or charges the individual with reckless driving or careless driving, it may make it easier for you to prove that the driver’s fatigue amounts to negligence under Nevada civil law. Even if law enforcement doesn’t issue any citations in your case, you still have every right to gather the evidence to prove fatigued driving. Your car accident lawyer can help you determine what you need to do to prove your claim and recover fair compensation for a fatigued driving accident.
What If Driver Fatigue Is Only One Cause of the Accident?
It’s possible that there are multiple causes of an accident. Driver fatigue may be only one cause of the crash. Even if your actions also contribute to the accident, you may still deserve some compensation for your injuries and losses.
If there are multiple causes of the accident, you may recover a reduced amount. Your attorney can help you determine if it’s in your best interests to file a claim and what you’re likely to recover if you bring a claim for compensation when you’re in an accident involving driver fatigue.
Contact Our Las Vegas Attorneys for Car Accidents
If you’ve been hurt in an accident that involves driver fatigue, our attorneys are here to help. At Adam S. Kutner & Associates, we have an experienced legal team ready to help victims of accidents receive the compensation that they deserve. Call us today to speak immediately with a member of our legal team.
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