Washington DC Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer
Operating a vehicle while fatigued or sleepy – commonly known as drowsy driving – is reckless behavior that has claimed thousands of lives. With a variety of sleeping problems across the United States, drowsy driving can happen to anyone at any time and it is extremely dangerous. Dozing off for even a few seconds can cause the driver to run the vehicle off the road, or crash into another driver’s car. Drowsy driving slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment, increases the risk of a crash, and can be fatal. If you or your loved one were hit by a driver asleep at the wheel, help is available to you. A drowsy driving car accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long can help you to recover compensation for medical costs, property damage, lost wages, future earnings, and pain and suffering.
The Washington DC car accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long have over 100 years of combined experience and have recovered millions in compensation for their clients. They understand that the aftermath of a car accident can leave the victim shocked, emotionally distressed, and physically broken. Oftentimes, the attorneys first meet their clients while they are in the throes of grief. In the office, care and compassion is the utmost priority when face-to-face with the victims of a car accident. However, in the courtroom, the Regan Zambri Long lawyers are not afraid to fight fiercely on behalf of their clients to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. The Washington DC law firm offers free consultations to prospective clients and they do not charge a fee unless a settlement or a verdict is reached. Contact one of the top Washington DC car accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long today for a free consultation — let them take on the burden of the legal processes that follow a car accident so you can shift your focus to what matters most: a full and complete recovery.
How common is drowsy driving?
Unfortunately, drowsy driving is extremely prevalent in the United States. According to the Sleep Foundation, 60% of adult drivers admitted to driving while drowsy, and 1 in every 25 adult drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel. The Sleep Foundation also found that each year there are about 100,000 police-reported crashes involving drowsy driving that result in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. Research done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that the prevalence of drowsy driving fatalities is more than 350% greater than reported. It’s a little known fact that driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. While Americans have been taught the dangers of drunk driving since grade school, very little is mentioned about the perils of driving while fatigued. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that being awake for at least 18 hours is the same as having a blood alcohol content of 0.05%. Being awake for at least 24 hours is equal to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1%, which is higher than the legal limit.
Even with these daunting statistics, only two states placed drowsy driving laws into effect. Arkansas’ drowsy driving law was enacted in 2013 and defines fatigue as ‘being without sleep for over 24 consecutive hours.’ New Jersey put ‘Maggie’s Law’ into effect in 2003 and considers driving “while knowingly fatigued” as legal recklessness. Currently, there are no drowsy driving laws in Washington DC, Virginia, or Maryland. This is why it is essential to have a legal expert from Regan Zambri Long on your side. Their detailed knowledge of the laws and various insurance policies across all three states will ensure that you receive the proper amount of compensation after an accident.
What are the warning signs of driver fatigue? How can I prevent a drowsy driving crash?
While it is difficult to predict when you are going to fall asleep, Washington DC’s DMV highlights plenty of warning signs to look for before and during a long drive, including:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, and/or heavy eyelids.
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open, or your head up.
- Blurred vision.
- Yawning or rubbing your eyes repeatedly.
- Daydreaming and wandering thoughts.
- Drifting from your lane, swerving, missing an exit, tailgating, and/or hitting rumble strips.
- Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven.
- Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive.
- Turning up the radio or rolling down the window to help wake yourself up.
If you notice any of these signs, the safest thing to do is to stop driving. Pull the car over and take a 15-20 minute nap in a safe place, such as a rest stop. There are plenty of ways to avoid getting to this point and reduce driver fatigue before it becomes a problem. They include:
- Get enough sleep, roughly seven to eight hours per night for adults. This is especially necessary before a long car trip.
- If you are going on a long car drive, plan ahead to limit the number of hours driving.
- Travel with someone and take frequent breaks at rest areas or travel plazas.
- Avoid alcohol before driving, but drink plenty of caffeine.
- Taking prescription medication? Check before driving to make sure fatigue is not a side effect from usage.
- Avoid driving during peak sleepiness periods, which are midnight to 6 a.m.
- If you suffer from a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Were you in a drowsy driving car accident in Washington DC? Here’s what you should do:
- Call 911 and report the accident to the police: The police will be able to help you with immediate medical needs, direct traffic away from the vehicles, and investigate the scene. Make sure to notify the officers of any injuries that need immediate medical attention so they can coordinate emergency medical help for you or your loved ones. Do not let the other driver persuade you not to call the police, especially if you suspect driver fatigue. Do not take money from the other driver, as that can hinder your chances of receiving proper compensation later.
- Assess the damages: Look for any destruction done to your car and personal possessions. Take pictures, videos, and notes for documentation and keep that documentation safe. After your initial assessment is done, exchange information with the other driver. If the driver refuses to give you the proper information, the police officer on your case will provide it in the police crash report. If there are any witnesses present, be sure to collect their information, as well.
- Call your insurance company: After you arrive home, the next step is to contact your insurance company. However, do not do this without the help of a Washington DC car accident lawyer. Insurance companies are notorious for doing everything they can to not pay proper compensation to their clients. Even though you are dealing with your own insurance company after a car accident, you need to know they are not on your side. You will not deal with your own insurance agent, but an adjuster, whose job it is to pay out the minimum amount of what is owed to you following a car crash. At Regan Zambri Long, the car accident lawyers know the ins and outs of Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland driving laws. They are experts at dealing with various insurance policies and can navigate the insurance claim process so you don’t have to.
Why should I choose a Regan Zambri Long attorney to represent me?
The Washington DC-based, personal injury law firm passionately advocates for their clients who have sustained injuries due to the negligence of others. Because Washington DC doesn’t have explicit drowsy driving laws, the legal process following a car accident that involved driver fatigue can be complicated and difficult to prove. The evidence that needs to be gathered includes:
- Driving logs or work shift records showing the amount of time working without sleep.
- Cell phone data.
- School records.
- Prescriptions or over-the-counter medications used in the hours prior to the drowsy driving accident.
- Store, ATM, and gas receipts.
- On-scene evidence, including lack of skid marks before the collision, indicating the driver did not attempt to brake and therefore was likely asleep at the wheel.
The leading car accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long have the expertise and the financial backing to gather all the necessary evidence to see your case through to the very end. Whether your case ends in a settlement or verdict, Regan Zambri Long attorneys will work to secure the favorable outcome you need.
Frequently Asked Questions about Drowsy Driving Accident Lawsuits
What type of injuries are commonly sustained from a car accident?
- Neck and back injuries, which can cause paralysis and limit earning potential.
- Concussions, which inhibit or alter your brain function.
- Traumatic brain injuries which can lead to loss of speech, seizure disorders, coma, and other neurological problems.
- Bruising and/or broken bones.
- Internal bleeding or soft tissue damage, which is when muscles, tendons, or ligaments are damaged in the car accident.
- Chest injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes a variety of mental issues and distress. PTSD can leave the victim suffering from flashbacks, anxiety, nightmares, and uncontrolled aggression.
What is the difference between a car accident settlement and a verdict?
A settlement happens when the insurance company agrees to pay the full amount owed to the injured car accident victim. This is the ideal situation, though it is not the standard. A verdict is reached through a lawsuit after the insurance company refuses to release proper compensation. Regan Zambri Long car accident attorneys champion their clients in the courtroom and have secured millions in case verdicts for their clients.
What are the types of damages I can collect from a Washington DC car accident lawsuit?
Damages that can be collected from a car accident lawsuit are split up into three different categories. The first is economic damages, which includes:
- Medical bills (ambulance rides, hospital stays, rehabilitation, medications and prescriptions, future medical costs, physical therapy, and counseling services).
- Property damages (car repairs and/or replacement, rental car, and all personal property lost or damaged in the accident).
- Wages (loss of income due to the accident and loss of earning capacity due to the injuries sustained in the accident).
The second category in recovery damages are non-economic damages, which include:
- Physical pain caused by the impact of the accident.
- Emotional distress caused by the psychological trauma of the accident.
- Physical reparations like disfigurement, physical impairment and sexual dysfunction.
- Social disparities or mental hardships including grief, depression, nervousness, and anxiety.
And finally the third category is punitive damages, which are damages secured because the other driver acted with:
- Simple negligence: A failure to use the degree of care which an ordinarily prudent person would exercise under the circumstances to avoid injury to another.
- Gross negligence: Utter disregard of prudence amounting to complete neglect of the safety of another. It must be such a degree of negligence as would shock fair minded men although something less than willful recklessness.
- Willful and wanton negligence: Acting consciously in disregard of another person’s rights or acting with reckless indifference to the consequences, with the defendant aware, from his knowledge of existing circumstances and conditions, and his conduct probably would cause injury to another.
What is contributory negligence and will it affect my case?
“Contributory negligence” is a legal rule that prevents an injured person from seeking damages if they are found partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. If the plaintiff “contributes” to their own injuries by acting negligently, they may be barred from recovering compensation from the defendant. Washington DC, along with Virginia and Maryland, are three of the five jurisdictions that use contributory negligence instead of comparative negligence. If you are unsure whether you may be found partially at fault, or believe you have been wrongly accused of contributory negligence, contact a lawyer at Regan Zambri Long.
Who is more likely to drive drowsy or fall asleep at the wheel?
- Commercial drivers who operate vehicles such as buses, tow trucks, and tractor trailers.
- Shift workers (who work night shift or long shifts).
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
- Drivers who use medication that makes them sleepy.
How much compensation can I expect to receive?
Every case is different, so it’s hard to predict how much compensation you should expect. The amount depends on the severity of the injuries and the need for extensive medical care. Regan Zambri Long works to ensure that their clients are paid the maximum amount of compensation.
Do Regan Zambri Long lawyers handle catastrophic injury cases?
Yes. The attorneys at Regan Zambri Long work with medical experts in order to strengthen the claim and ensure a beneficial outcome for their client.
After a catastrophic event there are many battles to overcome whether it’s grief, physical healing, or emotional distress. The claims process is one battle you don’t have to fight alone. Let Regan Zambri Long carry the weight of the legal processes, so you can give yourself time to rest and recover.