Every year, a number of individuals in the state of Florida and throughout the United States are injured in automobile accidents caused by drowsy drivers. Fatigued and exhausted drivers pose great risks to other drivers and pedestrians on the road. If you or someone close to you has been injured by a drowsy driver, it is important to seek the help of a qualified Miami personal injury attorney who can assess the merits of your case. These claims can be hard to substantiate, which is why having a reputable lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
Studies have indicated that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving, since drowsy drivers may experience slower reaction times, impaired vision, and an impaired ability to make decisions. The National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America Poll reports that approximately 60 percent of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy, while 37 percent have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving causes 56,000 automobile crashes every year. The NHTSA also finds that the following drivers are most at risk for drowsy driving: adults between 18 and 29 years of age; men; adults with children; and shift workers.
Drowsy driving can be considered negligence if the person was sleep-deprived and was aware that he or she was drowsy before getting behind the wheel. Every driver has a legal duty to be careful and not to endanger others on the road. Driving while fatigued may be considered a breach of that duty. Broadly speaking, negligence is the failure to use reasonable care in one’s actions or omissions. Reasonable care is defined as the way a prudent person would act in the same or similar circumstances. In order to prevail on a negligence claim and receive compensation for his or her injuries, the victim of an accident would have to establish the following elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty not to drive while drowsy;
- The defendant breached this duty owed to the plaintiff;
- The plaintiff was injured as a result; and
- The plaintiff incurred quantifiable damages.
It is important to remember that all of the above elements (duty, breach, causation, and damages) need to be met in order to win on a negligence claim. Drowsy driving cases are tricky because there is no way to determine if someone is too tired to drive, as there is a way for law enforcement to determine if someone is drunk. As such, drowsy driving cases are extremely fact-intensive and can often be difficult to prove.
Most people don’t think twice about driving when they are a little tired. However, if your level of tiredness rises to the level that it can affect the way you drive, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, many people disregard this and drive anyway, causing serious accidents. If you or someone close to you has been injured by a tired driver, call a skilled Miami car accident attorney so we can assess the facts of your case. Robert Dixon has helped countless South Florida clients resolve their injury claims. Feel free to contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free, confidential consultation.
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Documents Prepared in Anticipation of Litigation Not Discoverable in Florida Premises Liability Case, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, March 9, 2015
Chain Reaction Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, March 9, 2015
Causation Required for Compensation in Negligence Claims – Schwartz v. Wal-Mart, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, February 26, 2015