Can I Recover Compensation for a Crash at Night?
Driving at night can significantly increase the risk of a collision. For this reason, drivers on the road after dark should take additional precautions to avoid a crash. If they do not, and a crash occurs, victims of the accident may be able to recover compensation for their damages.
If you were injured in an accident at night, call our New Jersey auto accident lawyers today. We provide a free legal consultation to discuss your claim. There are also no upfront fees while we investigate and build a strong case for compensation.
Below, we discuss the dangers of nighttime driving and what your legal options may be if you are injured in a crash.
What Are the Hazards of Driving at Night?
After sunset, visibility is low, even if there are streetlights lining the roads and every driver is using his or her headlights. Although our eyes adjust to low-light settings, there are some things the human eye is not likely to see very well in the dark. However, low visibility is just one concern when driving at night.
Other hazards of nighttime driving include the following:
While impaired driving is not exclusively a nighttime driving issue, it is generally more common. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), impaired drivers are most frequently on the road between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. Intoxicated drivers are more likely to be heading home from a night out at a bar, restaurant or friend’s house during that time.
The combination of low visibility and alcohol or drug impairment significantly increases the chances of an accident.
Alcohol or drugs, even prescription medication, can result in fatigue or drowsiness at any time of day. But these are not the only things that cause driver fatigue behind the wheel. Extended work hours, long-distance driving or a broken sleep schedule may also contribute to drivers feeling tired.
The low-light setting is another factor that contributes to driver fatigue and can cause some people to fall asleep behind the wheel.
When daylight savings time ends and the sun begins to set earlier, drivers unaccustomed to leaving work after dark may feel also more tired.
The roads are usually emptier after dark. Some drivers might use this as an excuse to drive well over the speed limit. This creates an unnecessary risk for other drivers. Speeding while it is dark out is especially dangerous due to decreased visibility. A speeding driver has less time to react to an unexpected hazard or road obstruction.
New Jersey has many rural counties in the state, so there is much wildlife around the area. Deer are a significant problem, even in suburban areas. However, drivers may also encounter smaller critters like raccoons and opossums. These animals are nocturnal, so they are a lot more active at night. With their dark fur, they may be difficult to see at night. Once drivers do see them, they may swerve to avoid hitting one. Sometimes, this causes a driver to end up hitting another vehicle instead.
Pedestrians may also be at greater risk of getting hit by a car at night, especially if their clothes do not reflect light well. People walking home from parties is common at night. Some pedestrians may be distracted by their phones or impaired, which means they may not notice oncoming traffic.
Are Drivers Required to Take Additional Precautions When it is Dark Out?
If visibility is low, such as after dark, drivers are also expected to take additional precautions to avoid a crash. This means reducing speed, being more attentive or staying farther back from other vehicles.
Drivers should always avoid distractions, but texting may be even more hazardous at night since the light from a cellphone may affect a driver’s vision.
While driving at night, drivers should also have their headlights on and ensure their taillights are working properly.
How Can You Provide Evidence After a Crash at Night?
If you were involved in an accident with a vehicle at night, you need to provide evidence of negligence. One example of this is if the driver neglected to fix broken taillights. If this leads to a crash, that driver could be held at least partly liable. Drivers are required to keep their vehicles maintained and in safe operating condition.
Proving either broken or unused lights can be challenging. However, an attorney can help you to gather strong evidence that may help prove your claim, including:
- Police report – Officers responding to the crash scene will conduct a preliminary investigation of the crash scene and document the findings in the accident report. However, when you give your statement to him or her, be sure to mention the broken taillights.
- Witness testimony – If there are others who witnessed the accident, be sure to get their contact information. Your attorney can ask the witness questions about the crash, including whether he or she noticed broken taillights.
- Black box data – Many vehicles today have a black box that collects certain data about a collision. It usually records speed and other details before, during and after a collision that may help to prove your claim.
It is important to note that even if a vehicle had broken taillights, you still have a duty to react reasonably to the other driver’s negligence. The insurance company will likely try and use this against you to deny your claim. That is why you should have an experienced lawyer on your side who is prepared to build a strong case and fight back against the insurance company.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today
If you were injured by another driver’s negligence while driving at night, you may be eligible for compensation. Let our attorneys walk you through the process of filing a claim. Our attorneys can focus on the legal aspects of your case while you focus on getting the treatment you need.
The consultation is free, and there are no upfront fees.
Call (800) 518-0508 to schedule a free consultation.