Drowsy Driving Accident Attorneys in Dothan
In today’s society, people are running themselves ragged. This has caused far more tension and stress, which has translated into more auto accidents. Distracted driving is one of the common problems that stems from our busy modern world, and this problem has received a lot of well-deserved attention in recent years. Another issue that is just as dangerous but not talked about as much is drowsy driving.
These days, more and more motorists get behind the wheel while they are drowsy or fatigued. But unlike distracted driving or DUI, drowsy driving is not against the law in most states (including Alabama). Yet, drowsy or fatigued driving is implicated in more than 100,000 auto crashes each year. Those who choose to drive when they are too tired are negligent, and when their actions cause injury to others, they must be held fully accountable.
If you or a loved one was injured at the hands of a drowsy driver, you need strong legal counsel in your corner fighting hard for every dollar of compensation you deserve. Before you talk to anyone from the insurance company, call M. Adam Jones & Associates at 334-699-5599 to schedule a free consultation and case assessment!
At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we have several years of experience representing individuals who have been injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents in Alabama, southwest Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and we have a proven track record successfully recovering full and fair compensation on behalf of each client we serve.
Drowsy driving accidents can be devastating for victims and their families; medical bills pile up, and injury victims typically have to miss a lot of time from work. Not to mention the untold physical pain and emotional stress this type of event causes. We understand this, and we know that the last thing you want to deal with is an insurance company that is willing to go to just about any length to deny you the compensation you deserve.
We routinely go up against large insurance companies and other well-funded adversaries, and we are not intimidated by their vast resources. We deal directly with the insurance company, and we handle all the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on your recovery. When possible, we look to negotiate a fair settlement from the insurer. However, if they are not willing to be reasonable, we are ready and able to pursue full damages through litigation.
How Common is Drowsy Driving?
An alarming number of motorists drive vehicles while drowsy or fatigued. A National Sleep Foundation poll from several years ago found that more than 60% of adults have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy during the past year. In addition, about one-third of adult drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at least once during the past year.
Clearly, falling asleep at the wheel can produce disastrous consequences. But even when drowsy drivers do not fall asleep, they can still pose a greater danger to those they share the roads with. Tired and fatigued drivers have slower reaction times, and they tend to be far less attentive to important details that may be happening around them. This vastly increases the likelihood of making poor driving decisions.
It is difficult to pin down the exact number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities that are attributable to drowsy and fatigued driving each year. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) puts the official number of drowsy driving-related fatalities at around 800, but according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), these numbers are vastly underestimated, and the real number is most likely closer to 6,000.
Although all motorists are susceptible to drowsy driving, the CDC lists several groups wherein this type of behavior is more common:
- Drivers who do not get enough sleep (generally defined as at least six hours of sleep a night);
- Shift workers who put in long hours that go into the evenings and overnights;
- Individuals who take sleep inducing medications;
- Individuals who have untreated sleep disorders;
- Individuals who drive commercial vehicles for a living, including tow trucks, buses, and semi-trucks.
Commercial truck drivers are particularly susceptible to drowsy driving, because they often fall into several risk categories. Truckers put in long hours over-the-road, often by themselves and during evening and overnight hours when it is more difficult to stay awake. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also reports that nearly one-third of truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea.
Trucking companies often do not help matters by putting undue pressure on drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines. Driving a big rig truck is already a stressful job, but these companies make it worse when they force their drivers to choose between violating federal Hours of Service guidelines (to make their deadline) and pulling over at a truck stop to get some much-needed rest.
Damages in Drowsy Driving Accident Claims
When someone is injured or killed at the hands of a drowsy or fatigued driver, they deserve to be fully compensated. Compensation may be available not only for direct monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and property damage, but also for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life. In some rare cases, punitive damages may also be awarded when the actions of the party responsible for the accident were especially egregious.
Drowsy driving accident cases can be more difficult to pursue in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal doctrine. Contributory negligence means that if an injured party “contributes” in any way to the underlying accident (even 1%), they can be barred from recovering damages.
Although an accident involving a drowsy driver should be entirely ruled to be their fault, there is no guarantee that this is how it will end up. If you are not careful, the other side may be able to pin some of the blame for the accident on you, causing you to lose out on the just compensation you deserve. This is one of several reasons it is important to get an experienced auto accident lawyer involved as early as possible, so your legal rights and interests can be protected.
Contact Our Skilled and Knowledgeable Dothan, AL Auto Accident Attorneys
If you or someone close to you was injured or killed in a drowsy driving accident, get in touch with M. Adam Jones and Associates for the strong legal guidance you need. Call our office today at 334-699-5599 or message us through our web contact form to schedule your free consultation.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation on your behalf