Drowsy Driving Accident Attorney Serving Richmond
Legal advocacy for victims of fatigued and drowsy drivers in Virginia
Although motorist safety tips tend to focus a lot on drunk or distracted driving, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous. With daily life more chaotic than ever, and people working longer shifts or taking on more responsibilities at home, many drivers are simply fatigued – making it likely that they will get behind the wheel while drowsy. Doing so can put everyone on the road at risk for accidents and injuries.
The Richmond-based car accident attorneys at Phelan Petty have decades of combined experience working to protect the rights of victims of negligent drivers throughout Virginia. When you or a loved one are harmed when a drowsy driver causes a collision, we can help you seek financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact our legal team today.
What is drowsy and fatigued driving?
Drowsy driving is a national problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports nearly 700 deaths from drowsy driving-related accidents in 2019, and 91,000 crashes in 2017. However, they also note that it isn’t possible to determine the full number of fatigue-related accidents, as there is no formal test for drowsy driving.
Drowsy driving is exactly what it sounds like – operating a vehicle while fatigued or sleepy. According to a nationwide survey by the CDC:
- “Approximately 1 out of 25 adults aged 18 years and older surveyed reported that they had fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days.
- Individuals who snored or slept 6 hours or less per day were more likely to fall asleep while driving.”
Just like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drowsy driving can affect an individual’s ability to pay attention, their ability to make decisions, and their reaction time. All of this can cause a tragic accident when a fatigued person gets behind the wheel.
What are the warning signs of a drowsy driver?
By recognizing the signs of a drowsy driver, you could save a life, possibly your own. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) spokesperson Dr. Nathaniel Watson notes, “Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in how it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision-making skills. Drowsy driving is deadly, but it can be prevented.”
The AASM advises getting seven to nine hours of sleep, avoid driving late at night or alone, and splitting up the driving during long trips. They also note the following warning signs of a fatigued or drowsy driver:
- Crossing/drifting into the opposite lane
- Drifting into other lanes
- Drifting onto the rumble strip or shoulder
- Missing road signs or exits
- Nodding off or “head-bobbing”
- No memory of driving the past few miles
- Yawning or troubling keeping the eyes open
Anyone exhibiting these signs should pull over to a safe area and rest, and/or switch to a more alert driver.
What are common injuries from Richmond drowsy driving car crashes?
Injuries from fatigued driving crashes can range from serious to life-altering, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries. Typical injuries from car accidents include the following:
- Airbag or seatbelt injuries
- Broken and fractured bones
- Burn injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal injuries
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
The drowsy driving accident attorneys at Phelan Petty work to hold the negligent driver accountable for your injuries.
Is drowsy driving illegal in Virginia?
No. This is simply because it is difficult to prove drowsy driving in court. However, if you are injured from a fatigued driver’s actions, it does not mean you do not have a case. Virginia’s reckless driving statute makes it unlawful to operate a vehicle in any way that endangers others, most specifically:
“…any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.”
If a drowsy driver causes an accident by lane drifting, tailgating, failing to follow traffic laws, or exhibiting any behavior that harms other drivers, motorcyclists, or pedestrians, they are likely engaging in reckless driving. Our Richmond attorneys know how to hold these motorists responsible.
What is my Richmond drowsy driving accident claim worth?
Our injury attorneys consider a variety of factors when determining the value of your drowsy driving crash case. We understand that every person’s circumstances and injuries are different, and a one-size-fits-all solution is unfair to you and the harm you have endured. The value of your injury case depends on factors including:
- The expected cost of your current and future medical treatment
- The likelihood of a full recovery from your injuries
- Your ability to return to your job and earn future income
- The full scope of your pain and suffering
- The amount of insurance coverage involved in your injury claim
Remember to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, as the Virginia statute of limitations on personal injury actions is two years.
We ensure the at-fault driver is held accountable for their actions, and we work with the insurance company to secure the compensation to which you are entitled. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for your case in the most efficient way – but if that requires going to trial, we will go to trial and fight for what you deserve.
Richmond fatigued driving crash injury lawyers
If you or a loved one were injured by a drowsy driver, the accident attorneys at Phelan Petty can help. We represent victims of reckless and negligent drivers, working to secure financial compensation for their injuries and losses – and we can help you, too. Contact our legal team in Richmond today to talk about your case.