Drowsy Driving Accidents
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving, as both diminish a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and awareness. Reflexes are slow when one is sleepy, increasing the odds of a wreck when a driver falls asleep behind the wheel. Too many drivers “tough it out,” believing they can still pay attention to the road while drowsy. But, in truth, no one can know the precise moment they fall asleep. It’s easy for tired drivers to doze off, oblivious to the fact that they (and others) are at risk.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tells us that 328,000 drowsy driving crashes occur every year, and suggests that drivers who sleep only 5 or 6 hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as those who get at least 7 hours of sleep. The less sleep a driver gets, the higher the crash rate. For instance, drivers in the study who got only four or five hours of sleep had four times the crash rate — about the same as drunk drivers.
If you or a loved one was injured or someone was killed by a crash caused by a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses through a personal injury lawsuit. However, Texas personal injury laws are complicated, proving a driver was drowsy (and negligent) can be tricky, and insurance companies are out for profit and often try to deny your claim or get you to accept a lowball settlement.
Infographic: The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
The drowsy driving attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law know how hard it is to fight for a fair settlement on your own. Our legal team has years of experience handling cases involving drowsy drivers. We make sure that the negligent driver is held accountable for the damages they have caused our clients. We are fully prepared to deal with all legal hurdles and requirements, investigations, and negotiations necessary to fight for justice and the compensation you deserve.
We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to move forward. There is no attorney fee unless you win your case, and our consultations are free and confidential. So call us now at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 to learn more.
How Our Drowsy Driver Accident Lawyer in Houston Can Help
Why Choose Us?
There are many lawyers in Texas, and it is important to find one you not only feel comfortable with, but who has the experience and resources to investigate, build, and litigate your drowsy driving case. Here are some reasons why we believe Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law is your best choice:
- We have more than 35+ years of experience.
- We get results, and have recovered $1 billion for our clients. Visit our client victories page to read about real cases, such as the $10.6 million settlement in a head-on car wreck.
- Terry Bryant and two additional attorneys are board certified.
- We have a 98% positive group of satisfied clients who give testimonials to our service.
- We are recognized in our field – our law firm has received the Better Business Bureau’s Winner of Distinction Award multiple times.
- We have the resources of lawyers for truck accidents a skilled legal team, investigators, and expert witnesses to go up against a large trucking or insurance company.
- We provide great customer service and are available 24/7 for client emergencies.
- We offer free initial consultations to get you started.
- We offer a No Fee Guarantee®, which means you pay us nothing unless you have a successful recovery.
Here’s what our Houston drowsy driver accident lawyers will do to pursue justice for you:
- Meet with you to discuss how the accident happened, who the negligent parties may be, and determine approximately how much your case should be worth.
- Investigate the crash and gather evidence, such as photos and videos from traffic cameras, damage to vehicles, police and medical records, and driver work and social schedules and activities prior to the crash that may have led to drowsy driving.
- Interview witnesses, police officers, and first responders to get all available information.
- Hire experts to reconstruct the accident and testify as to all parties who might have been at fault.
- Thoroughly assess all damages, including current and future medical bills, all forms of lost income, damaged property and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
- Hire experts to testify as to how the accident affects your life, and that of your family, and the costs that resulted and projected costs into the future.
- Negotiate with insurance companies and their attorneys for a fair settlement.
- Build your case and present it in front of a judge or jury if your case goes to trial.
Insurance companies have a team of attorneys, accident investigators, and expert witnesses working to protect them.
Our Houston drowsy driving accident lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and resources to go up against them. Call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law now at (713) 973-8888 to get started.
Damages Our Houston Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer May Recover
In a successful lawsuit, our Houston drowsy driving attorneys may win a monetary award, called damages, for the injuries that resulted from the crash. In Texas, damage awards should cover both your economic or monetary losses and costs, called “special damages,” and your non-economic damages, called “general” damages.
Economic, or Special, Damages are for the cost of:
- Medical and rehabilitation bills and continuing care
- Lost wages, current and projected into the future
- Property damages from the accident
- Modifications to your home or vehicle, such as to accommodate a wheelchair.
Non-economic, or General, Damages are to compensate you for losses that do not have a specific dollar value, but negatively affect your life, including:
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
- Permanent disability, disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Loss of quality of life.
To qualify for non-economic damages in Texas, you must have had physical injury and costs as well as pain and suffering.
In some rare situations, where the crash was caused by actions that were wantonly reckless and negligent, you may also be awarded punitive damages. Texas law (CPRC Title 2 Subchapter C Sec. 41.008) caps the amounts of punitive damages.
Amounts of Damage Awards
There is a wide range of damage awards possible in a successful drowsy driving case, ranging from the thousands to millions of dollars. The amount you may receive depends on the individual circumstances and factors involved in the case. For example, consideration will be made for the severity and permanence of injuries, the actual costs involved, and the availability of insurance coverage and assets of the defendants.
In general, the more permanent and severe the injury and the greater the monetary costs and impact on your life, the higher your damage award may be. Our Houston drowsy driving accident attorneys will examine all factors involved to determine what a fair settlement should be.
Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney Must Prove Negligence
Proving negligence is an essential part of an injury case. Everyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle has an obligation to follow the rules of the road, drive safely, and avoid harming others.
To do so, drivers must be alert and not do anything that makes them drowsy and affects their judgment, attention span and reaction time. If they fail to do so and drive while drowsy, they can be held negligent and liable for an accident that results.
To win your case, our drowsy driving accident attorney must prove that the other driver, the defendant in the case, was driving while drowsy, and therefore was negligent and at fault for causing the accident.
Proving negligence legally means showing the existence of the following elements:
- Duty: The defendant had a duty not to cause harm.
- Breach: The defendant breached this duty by actions or failure to act.
- Cause: This breach caused your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered actual damages as a result.
When investigating, our legal team will look for signs and situations that indicate drowsy driving was a contributing factor in causing your motor vehicle accident. For example, the other driver may have shown suspicious driving patterns, like drifting across lanes, driving through stop signs or red lights, or failing to apply brakes in time to avoid the crash. Examining the activities of the driver prior to the crash may also show patterns that may be evidence of drowsiness.
Drowsy Driving Attorney Answers FAQs
After a drowsy driving accident, you are bound to have questions and concerns. These are best addressed in your free consultation, but to get started, here are some answers our attorneys are often asked:
Are there time limits for filing a drowsy driving case?
Yes, Texas has a statute of limitations and a deadline for filing a claim. According to Texas law (SCPR Sec. 16.003), you generally have two years to file a lawsuit from the date of the accident. (*Always speak directly to an attorney for the exact deadlines that apply to your potential claims.) If you do not file on time, the courts are likely to refuse to hear your case, so call our Houston drowsy driving attorneys as soon as possible.
What are some causes of drowsy driving accidents?
Drivers don’t realize the extent to which fatigue impacts their reactions and ability to focus on the road, and people often begin their long, slow morning work commute after a poor night’s sleep. In addition, drowsy driving accidents can be caused by driving for too long a period of time without resting, untreated sleep disorders, consumption of medications, alcohol or illegal drugs, shift work or working a double shift, or other activities that disrupt the body clock, such as having gone to an all-night party.
Should I talk to the other driver’s insurance company?
No. In general, the less you say to insurance companies, the better. Insurance companies are out for profit and may try to get you to accept a quick settlement for less than your case is worth. If you do, you may not collect anything additional should your injuries worsen over time.
They may also try to get you to say something that indicates you were at fault for the accident. Tell the insurance company to speak to your attorney and let our drowsy driving attorneys handle all dealings and negotiations with insurance companies.
What if I did something to contribute to the accident?
According to Texas law (CPRC section 33.001), even if you did something to contribute to the accident, you can still get a settlement, as long as you are not found to be greater than 50% at fault. However, your settlement will be reduced by the percentage that you are found to be at fault.
What problems does sleep deprivation cause?
Sleep deprivation on our ability to drive can lead to serious problems, such as:
- Impaired judgment and dramatically slower reaction times
- Increased aggression toward other drivers
- Short-term memory difficulties.
When you have Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law on your side, we will be there to keep you informed and answer all your questions throughout the entire legal process. Call us now at (713) 973-8888.
Truckers are Most Susceptible to Drowsy Driving
Drowsy truck drivers pulling an 80,000-pound fully-loaded big rig put all of us at risk. Their long hours on the road, tight deadlines, and pressure from employers to keep to strict delivery schedules can all contribute to drowsy driving. While we in our private vehicles can pull off the road anytime we want to grab a quick catnap that fights drowsiness, over-the-road truckers seldom have that luxury and push themselves into a danger zone.
This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created an hours of service schedule that all truck drivers must obey. It requires all truckers who are hauling cargo to adhere to an 11-hour maximum driving limit and mandates that they be off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours before beginning a shift. Sadly, some transport companies force their drivers to ignore this regulation just to meet delivery deadlines.
Even when drivers are able to rest, road trips don’t necessarily offer the best sleeping conditions. Those who sleep in their cab may have their sleep cycles interrupted or the amount of deep REM sleep reduced, which is a prominent cause of drowsiness. In addition, the FCMSA was forced by the Trump Administration to abandon its program to require sleep apnea screening for truck drivers and train engineers.
Get Help from Our Houston Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer
Accidents involving drowsy drivers are complicated and may be difficult to prove, but the seasoned drowsy driving lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury law are fully prepared to fight for justice and the compensation you deserve. We will attempt to settle through negotiations, but are fully prepared to take your case to court if litigation is necessary.
Contact us for help as soon as possible if you are the victim of an accident. Your consultation is free, and there are no fees to you unless and until you win your case. Call Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000.