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Fatigued driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving

A nurse who suffers various health problems, including regular headaches explained the cause of her medical problems. She says, some years ago, after working all night on an overnight shift, she got in her car and proceeded to drive home. She remembers feeling tired and considering a quick stop to buy something like coffee or soda to wake her up. However, she was so close to her home that she decided not to stop.

She wished she had stopped, because, within seconds, she fell asleep and crossed into the lanes of oncoming traffic. A head-on collision caused her injuries, and, fortunately, caused only minor injuries to the driver of the other car. The nurse now believes that sleep is no luxury, but rather a necessity.

Does the nurse's story sound familiar to you?

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report on Dec. 6 that is based on the NHTSA's National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey and data obtained from crash reports in which drivers reported how many hours of sleep they had in the 24 hours before their collisions.

The report states the following:

  • Americans do not realize the hazards of driving when sleepy.
  • Those who drive after having slept for less than seven hours during the previous 24 hours have double the chance of crashing compared to drivers who had more than seven hours of sleep.
  • The odds of an accident occurring increases proportionally to the driver's level of sleep deprivation. This means that drivers who had only four to five hours of sleep are four times more likely to crash -- similar to the accident rate of drunk drivers

While this information may make you pause and consider how much sleep you had before you go driving around Staten Island or elsewhere, you may fall victim to those who are not yet aware of the dangers of fatigued driving. Everything can change in a split second, and along with physical trauma, medical expenses after an accident can cause havoc on anyone's financial situation.

If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a driver who fell asleep, you will be entitled to hold that person liable for your injuries, financial losses and emotional damages. However, proving that a driver was asleep or dozing off when he or she caused a collision, and establishing negligence can be challenging without the help of a skilled attorney.

Your situation will be even grimmer if your injury prevents you from going back to work, and the experience of a seasoned Staten Island personal injury attorney can help you pursue financial relief. Your lawyer can help prove negligence on the part of the other driver, and assist in determining the past and future medical expenses and lost income to document in your claims. Furthermore, your attorney can assess which emotional damages are claimable, and navigate the claim in a civil court.

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
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Phone: 347-286-1937
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