How to Prove Fault if the Other Driver Fell Asleep While Driving

Personal injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “I was involved in a motor vehicle accident with injuries. Do I need a lawyer?”


Falling asleep while driving is commonly associated with car accidents in North Carolina and other states. Factors that make motorists doze off behind the wheel include alcohol and drug use, overwork, stress, medical conditions, and long periods of time on the road.

yawning-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Personal-Injury-Law-Firm-300x200Many falling asleep while driving accidents go unreported, and some drivers do not sustain any injuries in such crashes. However, many such accidents lead to severe injuries, and it can be difficult to prove fault in falling asleep while driving collisions.

The Drowsy Driving Report compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that about 83,000 vehicle crashes occur each year due to drivers falling asleep. Such accidents cause over 800 deaths every year.


Falling Asleep While Driving Crash in Charlotte Injures Nine People

One such crash occurred in west Charlotte in January. As reported by WBTV, a driver of an SUV was facing charges after a single-vehicle accident that injured three adults and six children on Interstate 485.

The crash, which occurred on I-485 inner near West Boulevard, happened when the driver fell asleep and drifted off the right shoulder. The SUV struck an embankment and overturned several times. It was around 11:20 pm when the crash occurred.

All nine involved in the accident were taken to Atrium Main. Of those, three children had life-threatening injuries, while the other six suffered minor to moderate injuries. An 8-month-old involved in the drowsy driving crash was being held by the front-seat passenger, while a 4-month-old was in an unrestrained car seat.

The driver was charged with six counts of failing to restrain a child, careless and reckless driving, failing to wear a seatbelt, and driving with a revoked license. The children involved ranged from 4 months to 10 years old.

The report cited North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Pierce, who said that the occupants “would have definitely increased their chances of reducing their injuries” had they been appropriately restrained.


Signs of Falling Asleep While Driving

While the most apparent sign of drowsy driving is a driver falling asleep behind the wheel, there are a series of warning signs to watch out for to pull over in time and get some rest.

  • Loss of concentration
  • Frequent yawning
  • Eyes drooping or closing often
  • Head nodding
  • Slow reaction times
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Inability to maintain a constant speed
  • Swerving between lanes
  • Failing to maintain a safe distance

If you notice a driver exhibiting these signs, report the driver to Charlotte authorities and provide the vehicle model, make, and license number.


How to Prove That the Other Driver Fell Asleep While Driving

Drivers in North Carolina have a legal obligation to drive safely. This includes refraining from driving when they are unable to do so in a safe manner. When violating this duty of care, a driver is responsible for the resulting damages.

However, if drunk driving can be proved through field sobriety tests, how does one prove that another motorist fell asleep at the wheel? Unless the driver admits to falling asleep while driving, proving that drowsy driving played a role in the crash may be challenging.

A Charlotte car accident attorney can assist you with collecting evidence that the other party fell asleep behind the wheel. Our attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, will investigate your situation and gather the necessary evidence to prove your personal injury claim. Call us now at 704-370-2828 to speak with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and our new location in Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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