A man who was permanently injured when the driver of the vehicle he was in fell asleep behind the wheel has been awarded $8.7 million from a jury. Interestingly, it was not the driver who was found to be at fault.
In this issue, we’ll talk about the specifics of the case.
The Case at a Glance
The victim and his fellow crew members were riding home after working a 22-hour, non-stop shift at a Texas oil well. The driver, experiencing exhaustion, dozed off behind the wheel and crashed into a school bus.
The victim suffered a traumatic brain injury and a host of permanent injuries to his back.
The lawyer representing the victim decided to take legal action against the operator of the well for working the crew “to the point of exhaustion and then failing to make arrangements to get them home safely”.
The jury agreed that the well operator knew the risks associated with fatigued driving but acted negligently for insisting that the exhausted crewmembers be responsible for their own transportation home after their grueling 22-hour shift.
When An Employer Can Be Held Responsible for Vehicle Accidents Involving Employees
There are essentially two ways for an employer to be held liable for an auto accident caused by an employee.
The first involves employer negligent hiring, and requires an employer to do a bit of due diligence to make sure the employee is a safe driver.
The other one, which seems to be what the jury in the case above focused on, is called negligent supervision. Under this ruling, employers are required to have reasonable safety policies in place and to make sure drivers comply with safety laws. If it’s found that the employer failed to make sure the employee has shown reasonable care, the employer can be held liable for negligence.
How Dangerous is Driving While Sleepy?
Numbers from AAA tell us that sleepy drivers are involved in an estimated 21% of fatal crashes in the U.S.
A recent study carried out by AAA revealed that drivers who sleep just one hour less than normal will have an increased risk for being involved in an accident. In fact, experts with the study compared driving while sleepy to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher.
If You’re Injured By Someone Else, Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm
If you feel that you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, call us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm. There are potentially a host of options available to you, including seeking a settlement.
The first consultation is always free, and our number is 800-323-9900.