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Drowsy Driving Accident Attorneys in Pensaola

Driving while drowsy or fatigued is one of the most dangerous activities a motorist can engage in. Drowsy driving inhibits the ability of motorists to see all of the potential hazards on the road, and it causes slower reaction times when the driver does realize that a hazard is lurking. In the worst cases, a drowsy motorist can fall asleep at the wheel, and this is most likely to happen during the evening and overnight hours. 

Getting behind the wheel when someone is too tired to drive puts themselves and others in great danger. And when a drowsy driver causes an accident resulting in injuries, those who are injured deserve to be fully compensated. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident caused by drowsy driving, it is important to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney, so you fully understand your rights and legal options.

At the Law Offices of Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A., we have over 60 years of combined experience representing clients injured in drowsy driving accidents and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in Florida. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and we work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work and fighting hard for the full and fair compensation they need and deserve.

When someone is seriously injured because of a drowsy or fatigued driver, it can turn your whole world upside down. Medical bills can pile up, and an injury can keep you out of work for several weeks or even several months or longer. In the most extreme cases, the injury can be permanent and debilitating, and you may not be able to return to work at all.

We understand the major emotional, physical, and financial toll auto accidents take on victims and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process smooth and stress-free. We handle all of the complex legal tasks, so you can focus on your recovery. We deal directly with the insurance company for you, and we work hard to secure a settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries. If the other side is not willing to negotiate in good faith, however, we are ready and able to pursue full damages through litigation.

Drowsy Driving Statistics

Driving while drowsy or fatigued is a far more widespread problem than most people would like to believe. Each year, hundreds of individuals are killed and tens of thousands are injured because of drowsy driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides some very troubling statistics that help shed further light on this issue:

  • Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 70,000 crashes and more than 40,000 injuries each year;
  • Drowsy driving causes approximately 800 deaths each year, but the CDC says that these numbers are underestimated and that the number of fatalities that are related to this issue could be as high as 6,000;
  • One out of every 25 adult motorists (ages 18 and over) report having fallen asleep at the wheel at least once during the past 30 days.

Groups most Likely to Drive while Drowsy

The CDC mentions several categories of individuals who are more likely to get behind the wheel when they are drowsy or fatigued, these include:

  • Motorists who snore or get less than six hours of sleep each day;
  • Motorists with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea;
  • Motorists who consume alcohol, drugs, or medications that make them sleepy;
  • Shift workers (e.g., those who work long shifts and/or overnight shifts);
  • Drivers who operate commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailers and buses.

Drowsy driving is especially common in the trucking industry. Those who drive big rig trucks often fall into most or all of the aforementioned categories, putting them at a very high risk of driving while drowsy or fatigued. To make matters worse, trucking companies often place unrealistic deadlines on their drivers, so in order to deliver their loads on time, they are often forced to choose between pulling over and getting the rest they need or violating federal Hours of Service guidelines by staying on the road longer than they are safely able to do.

When someone is involved in a drowsy driving accident with a commercial truck driver, the injuries can be far more severe. Big rig trucks typically wait in excess of 80,000 pounds when they are fully loaded, and when they collide with another vehicle, object, or person, it can result in tragic consequences.

Damages for Drowsy Driving Accident Injuries

Those injured in accidents that are the fault of a drowsy or fatigued driver are entitled to compensation, commonly known as “damages”. Compensatory damages may include not only direct monetary losses such as property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages, but also non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering, psychological distress, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.

In rare cases in which the injuries were caused by gross negligence or intentional misconduct on the part of the responsible party, punitive damages may be awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer and help deter them (and others) from engaging in similarly egregious conduct in the future. In most Florida personal injury cases, punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

Florida follows a pure comparative negligence rule for personal injury cases. This means that if you are found to be partially responsible for the underlying accident, your damage award can be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault you share. For example, if the total damage award is $150,000 and you are 10% at fault, the amount of compensation you receive would be reduced by $15,000. 

There is no doubt that the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident will try to pin at least some of the blame on you so they can minimize the amount of compensation they have to pay. For this reason, it is best to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible after the accident, so your right to recover full compensation can be preserved.

Speak with a Seasoned Florida Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident that was caused by a drowsy or fatigued driver, the Law Offices of Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A. is here to help! Call our office today at 850-500-1111 or send us a message through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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