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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Car Accident > Drowsy Driver Wrecks In The Palmetto State

Drowsy Driver Wrecks In The Palmetto State


Alcohol and fatigue have the same effect on the brain and body. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for many South Carolina drivers. Alcohol and fatigue adversely affect judgment and impair motor skills. Additionally, there’s no quick fix for either impairment. Only time cures alcohol impairment, and only sleep cures drowsiness.

Arguably fatigued tortfeasors (negligent drivers) know they shouldn’t get behind the wheel. But they drive anyway, and intentionally put other people at risk. As a result, a Columbia car accident attorney is usually able to obtain maximum compensation in these cases. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Evidence in Drowsy Driver Wrecks

This compensation is available if a Columbia personal injury attorney proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Therefore, evidence is critical in these injury claims.

The time of day or night is often the best evidence of negligence in these cases. Most people are naturally drowsy late at night, especially if they’ve been up all day. Other direct evidence includes erratic driving before the crash, a tortfeasor’s inability to remember the last few miles traveled, and statements the tortfeasor makes about fatigue.

Medical conditions and drug use are often circumstantial evidence of fatigue. Many people struggle with sleep apnea. People with this condition basically nap all night. So, they wake up fatigued. The drug could be a prescription drug or an over-the-counter drug, like Sominex or NyQuil. Current prescriptions, prior purchases, and medicine bottles in the vehicle often establish drug use.

Attorneys often partner with private investigators and other such professionals to obtain the evidence they need in these cases.

Liability Issues

Fatigued driving usually isn’t against the law in South Carolina. In fact, many local law enforcement agencies don’t even have a code for driver drowsiness as a substantial factor in a wreck. Therefore, attorneys must use the ordinary negligence doctrine to obtain compensation in these situations.

Basically, ordinary negligence is a lack of ordinary care, which in this case is usually a duty of reasonable care. Compensation is available if a lack of care caused injury.

As is usually the case in life, minimum effort yields minimum results. To obtain maximum compensation, attorneys must go above and beyond and collect enough evidence to refute possible insurance company defenses.

Comparative fault is one of the most common legal defenses in car crash cases. This doctrine basically shifts accident fault from the tortfeasor to the victim. For example, an insurance company lawyer might admit that the tortfeasor was fatigued and argue that the victim’s aggressive driving substantially caused the crash.

When they hear such evidence, jurors must divide fault on a percentage basis between the two drivers. South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent threshold. Victims are eligible for compensation if they are no more than 49 percent responsible for a car crash.

Rely on a Hard-Working Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.


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Marc Brown

Marc Brown Law Firm

Meet Attorney Marc Brown

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his smaller, more personalized practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

A Personable & Dedicated South Carolina Attorney

As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

Why Choose Us?

Choosing an attorney is a very important decision, but it can be difficult. When you choose the Marc Brown Law Firm, we do everything we can to keep you informed, put your needs first, and to make sure justice is served. Here are just a few reasons to choose us:

The Right Experience

Attorney Marc Brown has experience that matters. Prior to opening this law firm, Marc spent nearly a half a decade defending big insurance companies and large corporations in personal injury and commercial litigation matters across the United States. Marc knows exactly how insurance companies and corporations evaluate claims and what they look at when deciding to increase the amount they are willing to pay. He thinks outside the box to find additional or hidden opportunities for favorable results.

We’ll Come To You

After being injured in a serious accident, you need to focus on getting better. Serious accidents can be hard on an individual, physically and emotionally. The Marc Brown Law Firm is dedicated to fight for you while you recover. If you are unable to travel to our office for any reason, we will personally visit you! Just give us a call to talk whenever you may be in need of assistance. We’re here to help.

Clients First

At the Marc Brown Law Firm, we choose to put our clients first. Our clients are more than just a case number. We think of each of our clients as extended members of the family. We make sure to inform our clients of all their legal options and provide timely updates throughout the life their case.

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We are available around the clock for our clients. If at any point we are unavailable, we promise to promptly respond to all messages within hours.


We work hard so that our clients receive the justice they deserve! When necessary, Attorney Marc Brown retains investigators, engineers, and other experts to help prove your case. Insurance companies are big, but Marc is experienced and resourceful. We fight for each of our clients so that you can receive the maximum compensation available to you.

No Fees Unless We Win

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront cost to clients. You only pay lawyer fees when we win your case. This also means that your attorney is only paid a percentage of what is recovered for you. The Marc Brown Law Firm has a vested interest in ensuring that each of our clients receive the maximum recovery available to them. We are determined to fight tirelessly to recover for you.

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