Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney in Manassas
Americans are living busier lives than ever before, and many people do not get an adequate amount of sleep each day. We are always on the go, trying to balance our schedules and keep up with everything that is going on. As a result, far too many individuals get behind the wheel when they are drowsy or fatigued.
Unlike DUI and distracted driving, drowsy driving is not illegal in most states (Virginia included). In fact, many of the same people who would never think of driving after consuming an alcoholic beverage or sending a text while behind the wheel do not think twice about driving when they are too tired to operate a vehicle safely.
While they may not mean to do it, drowsy drivers put themselves and others that they share the roads with in far greater danger. And when their tiredness or fatigue causes an accident with serious injuries, it can be a life-altering event for injury victims and their families. A severe injury can incur high medical costs, days, weeks, or even months of missed work, and other losses. When this occurs, those who have suffered deserve to be fully compensated.
At Olmstead & Olmstead, we have several years of experience successfully representing clients injured in drowsy driving accidents and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries in Virginia. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases. We work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work to fight hard for maximum compensation.
Who is Most Likely to Drive While Drowsy?
Drowsy driving is far more common than most people realize, and the risks, dangers, and tragic results of this type of behavior are alarming. Most of us have made the mistake of driving when we were tired or fatigued, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every 25 adult drivers admits to having fallen asleep behind the wheel during the past 30 days. In addition, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving may be responsible for as many as 6,000 fatal crashes each year.
It is not just falling asleep at the wheel that can pose a major danger to other motorists from drowsy drivers. Even if they awake, tired and fatigued drivers are less attentive to the details on the road, have slower reaction times, and generally make poorer driving decisions.
The CDC lists several groups who are most likely to drive while drowsy or fatigued:
- Those who put in long hours, usually with a lot of overtime and most often during evenings and overnights;
- Those who drive commercially for a living, including semi-truck drivers, tow truck drivers, and bus drivers;
- Those who have problems with snoring and/or those who get less than 6 hours of sleep every night;
- Those who take sleep-inducing medications;
- Those who have untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
Individuals in the trucking industry tend to fall into several of these categories, making them more susceptible to drowsy driving accidents. Trucking companies do not help matters by putting tight and often unrealistic deadlines on their drivers, forcing them to stay on the road longer than they should.
We all know that big rig trucks are much larger and several times heavier than an average passenger vehicle, and when someone is driving an 18-wheeler while tired or fatigued and causes an accident, it can result in widespread damage and serious and catastrophic injuries.
Pursuing a Drowsy Driving Accident Claim
When someone is killed or suffers severe injuries in a drowsy driving accident that is someone else’s fault, they are entitled to compensation for their losses. Compensatory damages can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are actual monetary losses incurred by the victim, including medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and funeral and burial costs (in the case of a wrongful death).
- Non-Economic Damages: These are intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify. Examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, loss of consortium, permanent disability, and disfigurement.
In rare cases in which the actions of the responsible party were willful or malicious, punitive damages may be awarded not as compensation to the injured party, but as punishment to the wrongdoer and to help discourage similarly egregious behaviors in the future. In Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $350,000.
Drowsy driving accident claims are more difficult to pursue in Virginia than in most other states because of the Commonwealth’s “contributory negligence” legal standard. Under contributory negligence, if the injured party is shown to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident (even 1%), they can be barred from recovering compensation. This means you must prove that the party responsible for your injuries is 100% at fault.
This is a high bar to clear, and you can be sure that the insurance company for the other party will do everything they can to try to use these laws against you in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the accident. For this reason alone, it is absolutely essential to get an experienced personal injury lawyer involved as soon as possible after the accident, so your right to recover compensation can be preserved.
Speak with a Skilled Virginia Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney
Driving while drowsy or fatigued contributes to tens of thousands of serious accidents each year. If you or a loved one was severely injured or killed because of the actions of a drowsy driver, contact Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation. We will meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. Call our office at 703-361-1555 or send us a message through our online contact form. You may also stop by our Manassas, VA office at your convenience.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you never have to pay upfront attorney fees to receive the strong personalized representation you need and deserve