Man rubbing his eyes while drowsy due to fatigue.\

Drowsy drivers are dangerous and pose a risk to everyone using Oklahoma’s roads. Drowsy drivers have impaired judgment, reduced situational awareness and slowed reaction time. Many people attempt to drive when they have not had enough sleep and cause fatigued driving accidents. Some drivers remain behind the wheel when they are dangerously fatigued and struggling to stay awake.

If you have been injured or your loved one has been injured in a crash caused by a drowsy driver, you may have a legal right to demand compensation for your medical bills and related expenses. You should have an experienced car accident lawyer at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons review the details of your accident and discuss your legal options.

You should not be stuck with medical debt because of another driver’s decision to get behind the wheel with too little sleep. The drowsy driver and his or her insurer should pay for your accident-related losses. Let Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons explain how we can help you. Our attorneys have been fighting for injured people in Oklahoma for 35 years.

Help for Victims of Accidents Caused by Sleep Deprivation

Adults should get seven hours or more of sleep each night. But many people drive without having adequate rest and believe that they can keep from falling asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately, they often doze off and cause serious crashes. While struggling to stay awake, a drowsy driver may fail to see a pedestrian, a cyclist, a motorcycle rider or another car or truck. The victim of an accident caused by a drowsy driver may have legal options to pursue compensation for expenses related to the accident.

The auto liability insurance of the drowsy driver should cover the accident victim’s medical bills, vehicle repairs and other related costs. If the insurance company has denied your drowsy driving accident insurance claim, then you need to turn to the experienced Oklahoma injury attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons for help.

Our fatigued driver injury attorneys will investigate the accident, determine who was at fault and negotiate aggressively with the insurance company for maximum compensation.

If the at-fault driver did not have insurance, we can help you file a claim against your own uninsured motorist policy for compensation. It is important to have experienced legal representation if you are having to battle an insurance company for fair compensation for injuries caused by another driver’s negligence.

Symptoms of Drowsiness Behind The Wheel

Certain symptoms while driving such as constant blinking, difficulty focusing on the road, heavy eyelids, and yawning are signs that you should stop driving and get some rest. It is dangerous to drive when you are struggling to stay awake. If you do, you are putting yourself and others at risk of a serious accident.

You should pull over if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Blinking
  • Disjointed thoughts
  • Missing traffic signals or exits
  • Difficulty staying in the lane
  • Difficulty remembering the last few miles
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting onto the road shoulder
  • Being awakened by roadside rumble strips

Many people believe incorrectly that they can stay awake even when experiencing pronounced symptoms of drowsiness. Some fatigued drivers experience micro-sleep—periods lasting a few seconds of involuntary inattention. Unfortunately, many drivers who nod off for a few seconds run off the road or drift into an oncoming lane of traffic, causing a drowsy driving accident.

Causes of Driver Fatigue

Drowsy driving crashes can occur at any time of day. But they are more likely to occur at night and during periods of low light such as at dawn and dusk.

Certain types of drivers are more likely to be involved in fatigued driving accidents.

People with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy may experience daytime sleepiness and be more prone to falling asleep suddenly. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake during long drives.

Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines cause drowsiness as a side effect. People who take these medications are at greater risk of driving while impaired by medication and causing a drowsy driving accident.

Shift workers who work night shifts or alternating day and night shifts are more likely to have disrupted sleep schedules and be driving at times when they would normally be asleep. Shift workers such as police officers, truck drivers, airline crews, doctors, nurses and factory workers may be sleep deprived and drowsy while they are driving home from work.

Commercial truck drivers may be dangerously fatigued after many hours behind the wheel to meet a delivery deadline. Truck drivers are at increased risk of drowsy driving accidents. Because of the frequency of drowsy driving accidents among truckers, the federal agency that regulates commercial motor carriers has set hours of service limits on the number of hours truckers may drive each day and each week without rest breaks. The goal of the hours-of-service limits is to prevent drowsy truck driver accidents.

Young men in their teens through their 30s are at greater risk of falling asleep at the wheel late at night and causing drowsy driving accidents. Drivers under the age of 25 account for approximately half of drowsy driving accidents, according to the National Safety Council.

While certain types of drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatigued driving accident, anyone can drive while drowsy and cause a crash.

Is Falling Asleep at the Wheel Careless Driving?

Drivers in Oklahoma are required by law to drive in a safe and prudent manner so as not to endanger others on the road. It’s against the law to drive in a careless or reckless manner.

If a driver takes prescription medication that causes drowsiness and falls asleep at the wheel and causes an accident, the driver may be issued a traffic citation by police.

If you are injured by a fatigued driver who has fallen asleep, you may have a right to demand compensation from the driver and his or her insurance company for your medical bills, lost income from missed work and other related expenses.

If a commercial truck driver causes a drowsy driving accident, the driver and the trucking company that employs the driver may be liable for the accident.

Drowsy driving accident cases are often challenging to prove. Telltale signs of a drowsy driver accident include lack of braking or attempts to swerve to avoid a collision. The impact of a motor vehicle crash may cause a drowsy driver to seem alert as a result of adrenaline. You will need to seek the help of an experienced Oklahoma car accident attorney who can seek evidence to support your fatigued driving injury claim.

A drowsy driving accident lawsuit is a civil lawsuit that is filed independently of any criminal charges arising from a traffic accident. An attorney experienced at handling fatigued driver injury claims can review your accident and determine whether a lawsuit is appropriate.

Is Falling Asleep at the Wheel Covered by Car Insurance?

If another driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit your car, the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance should cover your damages up to the limits of the policy. Oklahoma drivers are required to have auto liability insurance.

You will need to submit a claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and present proof that the other driver was responsible for the accident that led to your injuries.

An attorney at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons can help you file a falling asleep while driving insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. Our attorneys know the types of evidence needed to support a drowsy driving accident claim.

Drowsy Driving Statistics

Fatigued driving is a contributing factor in one out of 10 car crashes, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says.

Research by AAA estimated that 328,000 drowsy driving accidents happen each year. The research suggests that drowsy driving is a factor in far more traffic accidents than government traffic statistics indicate.

About 20 percent of drivers admit to nodding off while driving within the last year, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Police reports may undercount the incidence of drowsy driving as a contributing factor in crashes.

Call Our Oklahoma Fatigued Driver Accident Attorneys

 If you’ve been injured in an accident in which a driver fell asleep at the wheel, turn to Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons for assistance. Our respected law firm has been standing up for injured people in Oklahoma for 35 years. An experienced car accident attorney from our firm can help you prove who was at fault based on Oklahoma’s drowsy driving laws and demand full compensation for you.

For decades, Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons has prevented insurers from taking advantage of people who are struggling to recover from serious injuries caused by drowsy drivers and drivers who fell asleep at the wheel.

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