A tragic head-on collision earlier this month killed a Texas couple and their two children near Bloomfield, New Mexico. A 24-year-old man apparently became drowsy at the wheel and crossed over the center line on US 550, crashing his truck into a van being driven by the family. According to a CBS article, all four occupants in the van were killed immediately on impact, and the driver of the truck was hospitalized with minor injuries. Authorities say the investigation is ongoing, but it is not yet known how many, if any, of the family members were wearing safety belts at the time of the accident.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Across the nation, countless accidents are caused by drowsy driving annually. Most of these accidents occur at high speeds on highways and interstates. Because of the speed that is often involved, accidents related to drowsy driving can be more dangerous than other crashes, and proving that a driver’s fatigue caused a New Mexico car crash is not always as easy as it should be.
Many drowsy driving accidents are caused by commercial drivers, who are supposed to keep a log of the hours they spend driving and sleeping every day. These logs can be used in a New Mexico personal injury lawsuit as evidence that the driver was dangerously tired at the time of the accident. Most accidents are caused by private drivers however, and it can be difficult to demonstrate that a private driver was not adequately rested leading up to an accident.
A Driver’s Duty Not to Drive While Drowsy
Every time someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, that person has a responsibility to ensure that he or she is safe to drive. People must make sure that they are adequately rested before getting on the road and pull over to rest if they suddenly become sleepy. Caffeine and other alertness aids can sometimes help drivers to stay awake, but if they find they need to keep pulling over to drink coffee in order to stay awake, they are most likely too tired to be driving at all. It is always best to err on the side of caution and pull over even for 20-30 minutes of rest when symptoms of drowsiness are first demonstrated.
When a driver decides to risk it and keeps driving in spite of the signs of fatigue, they are putting themselves and others at risk. The four members of the family who were killed earlier this month were victims of somebody’s bad decision to keep driving in spite of the signs of danger.
The Legal Responsibility for an Accident Caused by a Drowsy Driver
Drivers on New Mexico roads have entered into an implicit agreement that they will take responsibility for any accidents that are caused by their negligence. A driver has a duty to ensure that he or she is properly rested before getting behind the wheel, and he or she (and his or her auto insurance company) can be held legally responsible for any injuries and damage that result from drowsiness.
To obtain relief, an accident victim will often need to file a New Mexico personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties, although liable drivers and their insurance companies will try and avoid responsibility at all costs. From the moment an accident occurs, the insurance company for the party that appears to be responsible will begin to prepare its defense in the event of a lawsuit. Often, insurance companies will relieve their drowsy clients of liability by arguing that the accident victim made some mistake that played a role in the accident or injury. Even when no accident would have occurred but for the drowsy driver’s conduct, savvy attorneys working for insurance companies can sometimes reduce or eliminate their clients’ liability in ways that are difficult to predict. Because of this, it is important for accident victims to consult with a skilled New Mexico auto accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
Have You Been Injured?
If you or someone that you love has been injured or killed in a New Mexico car crash, whether you think the other driver was drowsy or not, you should consult legal counsel as soon as possible. The New Mexico accident attorneys at The Fine Law Firm have the knowledge and expertise to help our clients get the compensation that they deserve in the event of an accident. Our lawyers accept a variety of New Mexico personal injury cases, including auto accidents. Contact us through our website or call (585)-889-3463 to schedule a no-obligation consultation, and we will let you know how strong your case may be. Don’t wait until it’s too late, and get the legal representation you need today by contacting The Fine Law Firm.
More Blog Posts:
Medical Helicopter Crashes in New Mexico, Killing Three, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 28, 2014.
New Mexico State Police Officer Injured by Drunk Driver Late Last Month, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 7, 2014.