The stress and constant activity of modern life pushes people to get less sleep than their body requires. In fact, most Americans do not get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and many make the choice to drive when they are not fully alert. Drowsy driving caused nearly 800 deaths in one recent year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you have been hurt in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, call the Cain Law Office today to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney. We understand how devastating these car accidents can be for victims and their families. Our experienced Oklahoma car accident attorneys will fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve, so that you can focus on what’s most important right now: your recovery and well-being.
What Causes Drowsy Driving and Why Is It So Dangerous?
Driving while fatigued can pose dangers similar to driving while intoxicated. Drowsy drivers are less aware of their surroundings, and their reaction time in the critical seconds before a crash is slower. Some causes of drowsy driving include:
- Sleep loss
- Untreated sleep disorders like sleep apnea and narcolepsy
- Use of alcohol or certain medications
- Driving late at night or in the early morning
What to Do If You’ve Been Hit by a Drowsy Driver
If you have been hit by a drowsy driver, there are steps you can take to protect your rights. These include:
- Report the crash. Call 911 or the police. The responding officers can gather valuable information about the crash, and a police accident report can provide evidence that is important to your case.
- Exchange information. Get the other driver’s name, insurance information, driver’s license number, license plate number, and contact information.
- Speak to eyewitnesses. Get their names and contact information, and your lawyer can follow up with them.
- Take photos of the scene. If you can, use your cellphone camera to take pictures of the damage to vehicles and of the roadway and surrounding environment. Have someone take pictures of your own injuries, if possible.
- Seek medical attention. Seeing a doctor right away will ensure you get the immediate medical treatment you need, and it will establish a record of your injuries.
- Speak to a qualified attorney. An experienced accident lawyer from the Cain Law Office can advise you of all your options and answer your questions about the best way to proceed after being hurt in a drowsy driving crash. We can work quickly to investigate the scene and gather evidence to create a solid case for compensation.
Drowsy Driving Accident Investigations
Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys can investigate all of the circumstances surrounding the crash, including the other driver and what may have caused the accident. What the other driver was feeling at the time of the crash may be difficult to pin down, but there are ways to find concrete evidence to support the argument that the driver should not have been behind the wheel.
The time of the accident is important, as well as the at-fault driver’s occupation and physical health. If the driver is a commercial trucker, for example, there will be records logging their hours and how long they’ve driven without a break. Certain medications can also cause drowsiness. Or the driver may have a sleep disorder that contributed to the crash.
At the Cain Law Office, we have the skills and the resources to analyze all the evidence to determine whether drowsiness contributed to your accident.
How an Attorney Can Help After a Drowsy Driving Accident
An attorney with specific experience handling drowsy driving car accident cases can:
- Investigate the crash and all of the surrounding circumstances, including the other driver and his or her fitness to drive.
- Review your injuries and your doctor’s diagnosis to determine the current and future costs of your medical care.
- Evaluate the true extent of your losses, including lost income, reduced earning capacity for the future, pain and suffering, and all the other ways your life has been affected by your injuries.
- Manage all communication with the appropriate insurance companies to protect you from making any mistakes that could hurt your claim.
- Aggressively fight for a full settlement and/or file a lawsuit. A fair settlement may be possible even after a lawsuit is filed. The discovery process in a lawsuit makes more information available, which can help settlement negotiations.
Drivers at the Highest Risk of Drowsy Driving
Commercial vehicle drivers: Drivers of 18-wheelers, buses, tow trucks, and other vehicles often work long hours and travel long distances, increasing the risk of driving while drowsy.
Young drivers: Newer drivers have less skill and experience to draw on in order to avoid a crash, and young people are often sleep deprived. Drowsy driving accidents are particularly common in males under 26 years of age.
Shift workers: According to the National Sleep Foundation, those who drive between midnight and 6 a.m. are at six times the risk of causing a crash because the body’s natural inclination is to sleep during this time.
People with untreated sleep disorders: Restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea can cause a driver to have severe sleepiness during the day, and narcolepsy can cause someone to fall asleep suddenly. If a person isn’t properly treating these disorders, he or she could fall asleep behind the wheel and cause an accident.
What Are the Peak Times for Sleep-Related Accidents?
The NHTSA reports that the most common times for crashes related to drowsy driving are between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. and in the late afternoon. At these times, people’s circadian rhythms are at a low point, and they are at their sleepiest. Accidents can occur during “microsleep,” when a person falls asleep for only a few seconds.
Hurt in a Drowsy Driving Accident? Contact Us Today
If you’ve been hurt in a crash caused by a drowsy driver, call the accident lawyers at the Cain Law Office right away. The pain and injuries you sustain are more than enough to handle without worrying about how you’ll pay your medical bills, recoup lost wages, and support yourself and your family.
You don’t have to go through this alone. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping those hurt in car accidents in Oklahoma City, and we are committed to fighting for full and fair compensation for you. Call us or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation.