Falling asleep remains a major cause of motor vehicle accidents

Georgia like other states is grappling with the relatively recent problem of distraction on the highways. This phenomenon has led to an increase in motor vehicle accidents. Falling asleep at the wheel is not technically in the same statistical category; it has been, instead, a substantial cause of deadly highway accidents for a very long time.   

The latest accident in Georgia caused by falling asleep at the wheel was a car crash on I-985 South in Hall County that occurred on Friday, April 13 at about 7 a.m. The 21-year-old male driver veered off the interstate near the Plainview Overpass, causing the vehicle to go down an embankment and into a wooded area. It continued out-of-control until it hit a cement structure and then finally crashed into a tree.  

The driver survived but his 19-year-old male passenger died in the tragic incident. According to a Georgia State Patrol spokesperson, the driver admitted that he fell asleep at the wheel. Authorities charged him with second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to stay in his lane of traffic. It is unknown if alcohol or drugs contributed to the man's condition. Generally, in death cases the police investigation does not end until all forensic and medical testing is completed.

Under Georgia law, the outcome of the criminal charges does not affect the established right of the victim's estate to pursue a civil action for monetary damages. The decedent's immediate family may pursue a wrongful death claim against the driver through the decedent's estate. In motor vehicle accidents with these or similar facts, there is nearly always legal liability imposed on the driver to compensate the victim's estate. Nonetheless, a wrongful death action is a complex legal production requiring the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney to assure a maximum recovery of all damages allowed by law and against all insurance coverages that may be available.

Source: wrbl..com, "Georgia patrol: Passenger dies after driver falls asleep", April 16, 2018

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