Drowsy Driving Accident Attorneys in Birmingham
Drowsy driving is the cause of tens of thousands of motor vehicle accidents and injuries each year. When a driver falls asleep at the wheel, the results can be catastrophic. But even when a driver is fatigued and drowsy but does not fall asleep, their reaction times are slower, and their drowsiness can cause them to miss important things that are happening on the road, such as a pedestrian crossing the street in front of them or another vehicle entering their blind spot. This can also cause serious accidents.
For those who are injured in a drowsy driving accident, their world can be transformed in a matter of seconds. Suddenly, they face the prospect of being laid up in the hospital, missing a significant amount of time from work, and sometimes, having to live with a permanent medical condition. When this type of injury is caused by the negligence of another person or party, those who have suffered harm deserve to be fully compensated.
At Burge & Burge, we have over 50 years of combined experience successfully representing Alabamans injured in drowsy driving accident cases and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries. Our attorneys focus exclusively on personal injury, workers’ compensation/FELA, and Social Security Disability claims. We have in-depth knowledge of these areas of the law, and we have a proven track record with even the most complex cases.
Drowsy driving accident claims are often more complicated than standard auto accidents, because they often involve those who drive commercially for a living. This usually means filing a claim against larger entities such as the big trucking companies and their insurers. We are not intimidated by well-funded adversaries and their vast resources, and we know what it takes to prevail in these types of cases and successfully recover full and fair compensation on behalf of our clients.
Drowsy Driving is More Common than Most People Believe
An alarming number of motorists get behind the wheel when they are drowsy, fatigued, and too tired to be driving. According to a AAA survey, more than 40% of motorists admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel, and approximately 10% of survey respondents admit to having done this during the past year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide some additional statistics that show the disturbing number of accidents that drowsy driving plays a role in:
- Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 70,000 motor vehicle collisions each year;
- Approximately 40,000 injuries result from drowsy driving accidents each year;
- At least 800 annual traffic-related fatalities each are the result of drowsy driving, but the CDC says that these are likely to be very conservative estimates, and that the real number could be more like 6,000.
According to the CDC, there are certain groups that are more susceptible to drowsy driving:
- Those who have problems with snoring and/or those who get less than 6 hours of sleep every day;
- Those who have untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea;
- Those who drive while under the influence of alcohol or sleep-inducing drugs (i.e., “downers);
- Those who put in long shifts, usually with a lot of overtime;
- Commercial truck drivers and others who drive for a living.
Accidents involving drowsy or fatigued drivers are more likely to occur during the hours of midnight and 6:00 AM or during the late afternoon, and they happen most often on high speed rural roads and highways, and when a driver is alone in their vehicle.
As mentioned earlier, drowsy driving accidents frequently involve commercial truck drivers. Truckers often fit into multiple categories of individuals who are more likely to drive while drowsy. For example, semi-truck drivers typically put in long hours and often drive by themselves during the overnight hours. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) also reports that approximately one-third of all big rig truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea.
Conditions for truckers are not made any better by the industry pressures they face. Trucking companies often impose unrealistic deadlines on their drivers, forcing them to choose between driving longer than they should to stay on schedule or stopping to get the sleep they so desperately need.
Pursuing a Drowsy Driving Accident Claim
Those who are involved in accidents caused by a drowsy or fatigued driver can end up with serious and catastrophic injuries. When this is the case, they are eligible to receive compensation for their losses.
Compensatory damages can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: This is compensation for actual monetary losses, such as current and future medical costs, lost income, loss of earning capacity, and property damage.
- Non-Economic Damages: This is compensation for intangible losses that are more difficult to quantify. Examples include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, permanent disability, and loss of consortium.
In some rare cases in which the actions of the party responsible were especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded not as compensation, but as punishment for the wrongdoing and to help discourage similar behaviors in the future. In Alabama, punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages, with a hard cap of $1.5 million regardless of the compensatory damage award.
Alabama also has a two-year statute of limitations in which to file a lawsuit for most personal injury cases, and if you do not file within the allotted time frame, you may forfeit your right to recover compensation. For this reason, it is very important to get in contact with an attorney as and get your claim started as early as possible.
Speak with a Seasoned Alabama Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer
Being injured in an accident can turn your whole world upside down, and you may be facing a long road to recovery. At Burge & Burge, we understand the major physical, emotional, and financial toll drowsy driving accidents take on victims and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process as smooth and stress-free as possible. We deal directly with the other side and take care of all the complicated legal tasks, so you can focus on getting healthy and putting your life back on track. Throughout the process, we provide frequent case updates, so you are always kept informed, and we are always available to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
To schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of our experienced attorneys, call our office today at 205-251-9000 or toll free at 800-633-3733. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our office in person at your convenience.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we recover compensation for you