Car Accidents

Driving Drowsy Is as Bad as Driving Drunk

Drowsy Driving Accidents in Chicago

There are many reasons why tired drivers are on the road. Whether someone is on a road trip, driving long work shifts in a truck, coming off the night shift, or has a sleep disorder, drowsiness can often affect people behind the wheel. While most people do not worry about driving while tired, drowsy driving can impair a driver similarly to alcohol or drugs. When drivers are not alert, they make mistakes and cause serious accidents and injuries to others.

If you suffered injuries in an accident where a driver fell asleep or lost focus due to fatigue, you need a Chicago drowsy driving lawyer to review the circumstances. It is difficult to prove someone’s state of mind, including drowsiness, so these claims can be challenging. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. handles all types of car crash claims, including those stemming from drowsy driving.

We have extensive experience recovering compensation for injured car accident victims through case settlements and judgments, including:

  • $905,000 for a passenger who needed spinal surgery
  • $600,000 for catastrophic car accident injuries
  • $735,000 for serious back injuries from a driver who failed to yield
  • $460,000 for a herniated disc in a stop sign accident
  • $250,000 policy limits settlement in an uninsured motorist claim
  • $200,000 for shoulder injuries in a collision
  • $220,000 policy limits settlement for a fatal drunk driving crash

These are only some examples of how we help our clients move forward and have financial security following an unexpected injury. If your injuries were someone else’s fault, they should also be responsible for covering your losses. This is our goal at Abel & Annes, P.C. – to uphold the rights of car accident victims.

Reach out today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

What causes fatigued driving?

Not sleeping enough is the primary cause of fatigue, and drivers feel confident that they can make it home even when experiencing extreme drowsiness. While excessive sleep deprivation, like 18 to 24 hours awake, is similar to drunk driving, anything less than eight hours can cause a drowsy driving accident. Those who only get six to seven hours of sleep are twice as likely to be in an accident. Additionally, anyone who sleeps less than five hours is four to five times more likely to be in a collision.

Most often, drivers are tired from:

  • Getting off work late, overworking, or pulling a double shift
  • Sleep disorders that affect sleep quality, such as sleep apnea
  • Overexertion while on a road trip to get to a specific destination
  • Being abruptly awakened from sleep due to an emergency
  • Attending a late-night event like a concert, show, or party
  • Alcohol and drugs that cause drowsiness
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications that cause tiredness
  • Weather and car trouble delays that exhaust a person’s energy
  • Truckers need to meet unrealistic deadlines to meet employer demands

Medications are hazardous, and manufacturers will place warning labels warning consumers that they cause drowsiness. Doctors and pharmacists will also warn patients that the medicine they are prescribing can cause drowsiness and that they should avoid driving. Drivers do not always listen.

Some commonly known medications that cause sleepiness are:

  • Narcotic pain relievers
  • Antidepressants
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Anxiety medications
  • Allergy medications
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Prescription sleep aids

Combining alcohol and medications is also a deadly combination that can lead to drowsiness and additional impairment.Even experienced drivers are not immune from legal repercussions for taking medications that cause drowsiness. Anyone taking medication must read the warning label and take the necessary precautions to stay safe and keep others safe. They cannot plead ignorance of the side effects.

Drowsy driving also leads to other distractions because drivers are trying to stay awake, so they believe that talking on the phone, blasting loud music, and other activities will keep them awake. When you combine sleepiness and distractions, it is a recipe for disaster.

Regardless of the combination of factors that led to your crash, always have our attorneys review your options. We can identify whether another driver should be responsible for your losses and seek the compensation you deserve.

Who is at risk from a drowsy driving accident?

Drowsy driving is prevalent among young drivers, binge drinkers, truck drivers, and more. Drivers between 18 and 29 are more likely to drive drowsy due to lifestyle habits. Men are twice as likely to fall asleep while driving than women. Adults with children are also at a higher risk of drowsy driving than childless individuals, especially when the child is very young.

Some employers have varied shifts, and working a regular day shift lowers the chances of driving drowsy. Shift workers, especially night or graveyard shifts, have a higher risk of drowsy driving because they have irregular sleep patterns. Even having one night shift a month can be detrimental to a sleep schedule and lead to drowsy driving.

Another risk factor is specific to truck drivers and those who spend hours on the road. Commercial truck drivers spend long hours driving to deliver cargo and merchandise across Illinois and the U.S. Nearly 20 percent of all large truck accidents involve drowsy drivers, as these drivers often push their limits and fail to get enough rest.

Our bodies automatically associate nightfall with sleep, and nighttime driving becomes very dangerous. There is lower visibility at night compared to daytime driving. Nighttime driving is conducive to riskier driving habits that lead to fatal accidents. Since fewer vehicles are on the road after 9 p.m., many drivers will drive more recklessly, putting others on the road at risk.

Victims of drowsy drivers have legal options, but you must speak with a Chicago drowsy driving attorney. We can identify whether a driver fell asleep or was overly fatigued and gather evidence to prove their liability. Reach out to Abels & Annes, P.C. as soon as possible so we can review what happened in your case.

Common Types of Drowsy driving accidents

Drowsy driving causes similar to drunk driving crashes since many symptoms are the same. Many types of collisions might occur.

Head-on crashes often happen when a drowsy driver crosses the center lines into oncoming traffic. Deviating from the street onto the shoulder can lead to a crash with a stationary object like a light pole. If the person is on the highway, veering off the road can result in a deadly rollover accident.

A sideswipe accident happens when a drowsy driver is weaving from their lane and coming into contact with another vehicle’s side. Rear-end collisions are common since falling asleep at the wheel means the driver does not notice brake lights or obstacles in front of them.

Truck drivers are particularly hazardous because they carry tons of weight and cargo that can crush vehicles and bystanders when a driver falls asleep.

There are many other accidents that drowsy drivers cause, but these are the most common. You have the right to file an insurance claim to recover payment for the damages you suffer as the victim of a fatigued driving accident. You must contact a Chicago drowsy driving attorney from Abels & Annes, P.C. as soon as possible.

What Are The Signs of a Sleepy Driver?

Fatigue shows signs before someone falls asleep, and here are some telltale signs that a motorist is drowsy:

  • Restlessness
  • Impatience
  • Bob their heads
  • Repeatedly yawning
  • Irritability
  • Acting distant
  • Memory lapses
  • Drifting into other lanes of traffic

If you’re in another vehicle, it can be challenging to spot these signs until it is too late. Drowsiness only worsens as time passes, and drivers will begin to exhibit other signs like blinking more rapidly, forgetting the last few miles of terrain, and not staying in their lane.

When a driver fails to pull over or get off the road when they know they are overly tired, they should be liable if they cause a crash.

Injuries From Fatigued Driver Accidents

Injuries in a car crash can be life-altering, and they might be worse in a truck accident. It can take months or years of medical treatment to reach maximum medical improvement, and even then, you might not be the same again.

Accident victims can suffer blunt force trauma that injures internal organs or the head or causes fractured or broken bones and soft tissue tears. You can also suffer neck or spinal cord injury that results in partial or complete paralysis.

If these injuries sound scary, they should because drowsy driving results in some of the most heartbreaking injuries victims suffer. You might need surgery and rehabilitative services for the rest of your life. These expenses are not cheap, and you must speak with a Chicago drowsy driving attorney from Abels & Annes, P.C. to review your compensation options.

Seeking Compensation After a Drowsy Driver Accident

Compensation is vital after a drowsy driving accident, and you will need to take legal action to ensure you get the payment you need for the losses the drowsy driver caused. While insurance companies should make the claim process more manageable, they do not. They commonly delay and deny claims. Thankfully, there are Chicago drowsy driving lawyers who will negotiate with the insurance company to get the maximum compensation for your injuries.

If an insurance claim does not settle for a fair amount, then Abels & Annes, P.C. will look into filing a personal injury lawsuit to hold liable parties responsible. Most clients are wary of filing a lawsuit because they feel it will be complex and hinder their recovery. The opposite is true; while there are legal complexities, you will not need to deal with them because your Chicago drowsy driving attorney will handle that for you. There are only two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit, so do not hesitate.

If a loved one dies from a drowsy driving accident, the best option is to file a wrongful death claim within a year of their death. Depending on case specifics, other avenues might be available for you to recover compensation and hold sleepy drivers responsible for their negligence.

When a driver falls asleep while driving, some complications arise with these accidents. Drivers do not remember the accident, blame others, or deny they fell asleep. The driver’s insurance company will use their statements to deny your claim, sometimes even if an accident report says the driver was asleep at the wheel.

Do not trust the other driver or insurance company will believe you when you tell the truth. Drowsy drivers do not want to take responsibility for their actions, so you must speak with a Chicago drowsy driving lawyer to advocate for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.

How we can help

Why should you contact a personal injury lawyer? When you reach out to our law firm, we begin assisting you in many ways. You no longer have to wonder about your legal rights, as we can advise you of them. You can focus on your medical treatment and physical recovery while trusting that someone is protecting your rights.

We can:

  • Identify liable parties, which can include the driver and employers if a driver was on the job
  • Calculate your past, future, and intangible losses, which can include medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering
  • Handle all insurance company claims, including communicating and negotiating with adjusters on your behalf
  • Advise you if a settlement offer is fair or not
  • Proceed to litigation if necessary to seek full compensation

With our team on the case, you get access to our resources and experience at no up front cost to you.

Speak to an advocate from Abels & Annes, P.C.

As the victim of a drowsy driving accident, you deserve financial compensation for your losses. Getting compensation for your injuries is not always easy, so you need a legal advocate in your corner. You should focus on your medical care and allow a professional to handle your claim.

The Chicago drowsy driving lawyers from Abels & Annes, P.C. are here to get you justice for another driver’s negligence. Contact us today at (312) 924-7575to get started with a free case evaluation and consultation.

Chicago Office

100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602

Toll Free: (855) 529-2442
Phone: (312) 924-7575

Dave Abels

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