If you are in an accident with a drowsy driver, you may suffer devastating personal injuries. Neale & Fhima has a track record of helping drivers and passengers to recover maximum compensation for their losses in these and other types of car accidents.
Drowsy driving is a killer in California. The Department of the California Highway Patrol has found that, each year between 1993 and 2003, 100 people died in this state because of a drowsy driver, and 41,228 people were injured. This is not surprising, as many cities in this state, including Los Angeles, have some of the longest commutes in the country.
The problem is not confined to California. Across the nation, being drunk or drowsy doubles the risk of car accidents, a recent clinical study found. As a matter of fact, not sleeping for 18 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, which is the threshold for being legally drunk in California.
The AAA Foundation also has determined that drowsy driving leads to approximately one-sixth of fatal car accidents, and the number could actually be higher than that. These drowsy driving accidents lead to many serious car crashes every year across America, and many personal injuries and deaths.
Risk Factors for Drowsy Driving
Everyone needs a good night’s sleep, and anyone can have to drive while fatigued. Some of the groups that are most likely to drive when drowsy are:
- Men under 25: More than 50% of fatigued driving crashes are caused by this group.
- Night shift workers: They are up to six times more likely to drive while tired, especially those who work more than 60 hours per week.
- Commercial truck drivers: At least 15% of commercial vehicle crashes involve driving while drowsy. If you are injured by a sleepy truck driver, you could potentially be eligible for a large personal injury settlement. Truck drivers are obligated to drive in a safe manner as a requirement for holding a commercial driver’s license.
- People with untreated sleep disorders: Risk of falling asleep while driving is seven times greater for people with sleep problems such as narcolepsy, insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea.
A personal injury attorney can work with you to determine whether one of the above factors was involved in your car accident. He also can help you to collect evidence of drowsy driving to file a personal injury lawsuit.
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Drowsy Driving and Lawsuits
Passengers or drivers injured by a possibly drowsy driver can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their accident injuries. If the accident results in death, the surviving family may file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for their pain and suffering, lost wages of the loved one, and other damages.
For a civil lawsuit to be successful on these grounds, the plaintiff must be able to prove that drowsy driving led to the accident. This can be accomplished through obtaining a copy of the police accident report.
When the police come to the crash scene, they will fill out this report. Usually there will be evidence in the report that suggests the driver may have fallen asleep. For example, if the car ran through an intersection without stopping, there would be no skid marks at the crash scene. This indicates the driver did not apply the brakes.
Second, the cell phone record of the driver may show whether he has driven a high number of hours without resting. Workplace and school records, as well as co-worker testimony, can provide a better picture of the driver’s activities before the crash.
Third, witness testimony or credit card or debit card receipts may show that the driver ate or drank something prior to the accident that made him sleepy. Proof of prescription drug medication that induces sleep also could be used as proof in a civil lawsuit.
Proving that the driver who injured you was drowsy is a complicated matter that requires the assistance of a qualified, southern California personal injury attorney. But it is important to act quickly; the statute of limitations in California to file a personal injury lawsuit is only two years from the date of the accident.
Hurt By a Drowsy Driver? Call Neale & Fhima Personal Injury Lawyers in Southern California
Neale & Fhima is a vehicle accident law firm serving Southern California, with offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco. Our law firm has won more than $50 million for injured car accident victims. Our attorneys can help you to obtain financial compensation in an accident caused by a drowsy driver.
Driving while drowsy is a choice, and drivers who injure or kill others in this scenario should be held accountable. If you need legal advice about any type of car accident possibly caused by a drowsy or otherwise negligent driver, please call 949-661-1007. You also can complete the contact form below.