Liability for Drowsy Driving Accidents in New York

Drowsy driving is a common cause of automobile accidents in the United States. And unfortunately, these accidents are sometimes fatal. However, it can be difficult to prove that an accident occurred due to the driver’s drowsiness. Below is an overview of the ways in which liability is established for drowsy driving in New York.  

Establishing Negligence

In New York, any driver who injures or kills another due to negligence faces the possibility of reckless driving or negligent homicide charges, both of which are criminal in nature. However, even if criminal charges are not brought or no fatalities occur, auto accident victims and their families have the option of seeking restitution in civil court. In a civil case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent by a preponderance of the evidence—a standard that means it is more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. In these types of cases, negligence may be proven by:

  • Providing evidence that the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident failed to brake prior to the collision – This can be shown by a lack of skid marks at the scene of the accident. When there are no skid marks present at the scene of the accident, it suggests that the driver failed to brake to avoid the collision, which may provide circumstantial evidence that the driver was asleep or tired.
  • Providing evidence that the driver experienced an extended period of sleep deprivation prior to the collision. Although often difficult to demonstrate, sleep deprivation can sometimes be proven via witness corroboration.
  • Providing evidence that the driver was asleep at the time of the accident. Like sleep deprivation, this can be difficult to demonstrate without witness corroboration.  
  • Producing cell phone records that demonstrate a period of long distance travel by the driver immediately before the accident.  Geographic records can often be collected from cell phone data, and records demonstrating long-distance travel by the driver prior to the crash may provide circumstantial evidence of drowsiness.
  • Providing evidence that the driver was prescribed certain medications. Some medications cause drowsiness. If it can be demonstrated that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident was on such medication at the time of the collision, then this indicates that the driver’s drowsiness may have caused the accident.

Legal Representation in New York

Automobile accident cases can be complicated. Therefore, we recommend that anyone involved in such cases, whether civil or criminal, obtain experienced legal counsel to assist them. At Barket Epstein, our experienced New York personal injury attorneys will ensure that you are fully apprised of your legal rights and provided with the most effective representation possible. Our highly skilled attorneys will fight tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected. Whether you are involved in civil litigation or facing criminal charges, the attorneys at Barket Epstein are here to help. Please contact one of our experienced attorneys for a consultation.