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Board Certified Trial Attorneys Helping You & Your Family Find Justice

Drowsy Driver Accidents

Hit by a tired driver? Call a Clearwater car accident attorney!

Many people don't think about how dangerous it is to get behind the wheel when tired, yet it can prove as harmful as driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. About one half of adult drivers or 100 million people, have admitted to feeling drowsy in the past year while driving their vehicle.

Two in 10 or 32 million people have admitted to actually falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy driving is a huge problem in the United States and in Florida in particular. National Drowsy Driving Prevention week is November 6-12. The first week of September is Florida's "Drowsy Driving Prevention Week."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fatigued or drowsy drivers could account for as many as 15 to 33% of fatal accidents. In 2011, 2,826 crashes in Florida were attributed to drowsy driving. 21 people were killed and 2,393 were injured. The NHTSA estimates that each year driver fatigue results in 100,000 reported crashes, 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.

Why Driving While Sleepy is a Problem

Individuals particularly prone to fall asleep at the wheel are young people aged 16 to 29, shift workers whose sleep is disrupted by working long or irregular hours and individuals with sleep disorders. Commercial drivers, such as long-haul truckers, drivers who do not get adequate sleep and jet-lagged business travelers also put themselves at risk for drowsy driving.

Sleepiness slows reaction time, impairs judgment, decreases awareness and increases the risk of crashing.

Many things can cause drowsy driving, such as:

  • Sleep loss
  • Driving patterns (driving very late or very early or driving without a break, for example)
  • Use of sedating medications
  • Sleep disorders (Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Narcolepsy)
  • Alcohol

A study by researchers in Australia found that being awake for 18 hours produced impairment equivalent to driving with a BAC level of .05 and being awake for 24 hours produced impairment equivalent to driving with a BAC level of .10.

If a driver is driving on the highway at a speed of 60 miles per hour, then he/she is traveling at approximately 88 feet (or the length of a basketball court) per second. Nodding off for even just a second can prove deadly.

Falling Asleep at the Wheel Accidents

New Jersey is the only state that has successfully passed legislation addressing drowsy driving. While attorneys can use car accident reports, cell phone records and witness testimony, proving drowsy driving is difficult.

Drowsy driving can be considered negligent if the individual was sleep-deprived and knew he/she was sleep-deprived before getting behind the wheel. Florida is one of several states where drowsiness has been cited in criminal cases involving a vehicle accident death.

Usually, tell-tale signs indicate that a driver was drowsy or falling asleep. Signs such as lack of braking or evidence that the car drove off or suddenly jerked back onto the pavement as the driver awoke are things our legal team can look for.

If you were injured or your loved one died because of a drowsy driver, you could be entitled to pain and suffering damages, loss of income damages, medical or funeral costs, and even punitive damages.

Because people know when they are getting sleepy and can pull off to rest at any time (or choose to not get in the car in the first place), there is no excuse for drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is just as negligent as speeding, texting or running through red lights.

When we represent you, we will thoroughly investigate every factor that may have contributed to the accident. If we can prove the other driver had lack of sleep, was driving between the hours of midnight and 6 am for long stretches of a time, or that the driver was prescribed to over-the-counter medications such as tranquilizers, allergy medicines or cold medicines, we might be able to prove that the driver was driving drowsily.

Contacting Roman & Gaynor: Clearwater Auto Accident Lawyers

We will investigate how much sleep the driver got the night before and how long he/she was behind the wheel. If you were involved in a truck accident, we can review the driving log of the truck driver. Sometimes a negligent driver or his/her passenger will admit to driving drowsily as well.

If we can establish that the other driver was driving drowsily, we will fight for punitive damages to punish the negligent driver and to help you receive the entire amount you need to move forward.

For more information, contact Roman & Gaynor today!

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We Have Recovered Over $95 Million for Our Clients

  • $4,356,000 Verdict for Traumatic Brain Injury Victim
    Client was rear-ended with great force by an employee of Mercedes Benz of Melbourne on a rural highway in South Florida. The collision was so powerful that three cars were totally destroyed and the client was rendered unconscious. The Client sustained multiple fractures to her arm and ribs, damage to her shoulder and she sustained brain damage. The jury deliberated almost four hours at the conclusion of a six day trial in Brevard County, Florida.
  • $2,700,000 Verdict for Truck Accident Victim
    After a six day trial, a Pasco County Jury awarded our clients $2,161,000.00 for wife and $631,900.00 for husband. The wife sustained a head injury and had a spine surgery. The husband injured his hands, shoulder and knee.
  • $1,450,000 Settlement for Injured Pedestrian
    Roman & Gaynor sued our client's car insurance company when they refused to take her fractured pelvis seriously. After being pinned between 2 cars in a parking lot, she could not walk normally or return to work. This jury verdict is more than 10 times the amount of the policy she sought, and her insurance company refused to pay, after her injury. State Farm later settled her bad faith claim and Roman & Gaynor collected the excess judgment.
  • $1,175,000.00 Verdict for Traumatic Brain Injury Victim
    $1,175,000.00: A New Port Richey man was injured in a motor vehicle collision when his work van was hit and flipped over, causing him to be ejected from his vehicle, crushing his skull. Roman & Gaynor's investigation revealed that the work van was not equipped with operable seatbelts. A lawsuit against his employer, who was responsible for the maintenance of the work van, resulted in a $1,175,000.00 settlement.
  • $850,000.00 Settlement for Husband & Wife
    A Pasco County couple were seriously injured in a rear end collision in Pasco County. After spinal surgeries, Roman & Gaynor successfully negotiated a global settlement in the amount of $850,000 which assisted this couple in rebuilding their lives.
  • $836,000.00 Settlement in Rear End Collision
    Our clients, a 56 and 58 year old couple from Pasco County, were stopped for a red light in Tampa when they were rear ended by a distracted driver. Both husband and wife suffered herniated discs as a result of this accident which resulted in 4 spinal surgeries. The at fault party’s insurance carrier asserted a low impact defense, and asserted that our client suffered from these injuries prior to the accident. After protracted litigation, and just 2 months prior to trial, Roman & Gaynor secured a $836,000 settlement in favor of this couple.
  • $820,000.00 Settlement in Rear End Collision
    After a year of litigating a case the Defendant never took seriously, Roman & Gaynor negotiated this settlement just to days before trial for a young lady with a spine injury. In this case, a relatively low impact collision led to more than one spinal surgery, including fusion.
  • $600,000.00 Jury Verdict for Accident Victim
    A St. Petersburg woman received a verdict of more than $600,000 for multiple injuries sustained in a car accident including a broken pelvis. We received the verdict at the end of a three-day trial. The Defendant was the driver of a truck who ran a red light.
  • $572,000.00 Settlement in Rear End Collision

    In 2017, a middle-aged man was rear-ended at a high-rate of speed on the highway. He sustained head, neck and back injuries but did not get any surgeries. We were able to obtain a tender of the policy limits of the at-fault driver but had to file a lawsuit for the underinsured motorist coverage. Seven months later, in 2019, we reached a settlement. We were able to recover a total of $572,000 for this client and his family from the insurance carriers to help them move forward.

  • $550,000.00 $550,000 Recovery for our Client

    A phantom vehicle made a left turn in the direct path of our client’s path of traveling causing him to take evasive action, causing him to strike a concrete utility pole. The force of the impact caused both airbags to deploy and the car engine came through the firewall and into our client’s dashboard and legs. Our client sustained serious lower extremity injuries, neck, and back injuries necessitating hospitalization, multiple surgeries, and extensive rehabilitation. Because the at fault driver fled the scene of the accident, we presented 2 uninsured motorists claims to our client’s uninsured motorist carriers. Demand for tender of the first uninsured motorist policy in the amount of $250,000 was made by our firm and was paid promptly. Second demand for the second Underinsured Motorist policy in the amount of $300,000 was made by our firm. This second insurance carrier denied coverage, based upon a UM rejection form signed by our client. Our firm determined that the UM selection form was fraudulently signed by our client’s car insurance agent. Our firm then filed a Civil Remedy Notice asserting fraud, and the insurance carrier promptly paid its $300,000 UM policy limit within the 60 day time period provided under the Civil Remedy Notice. This resulted in a total recovery of $550,000.00 for our client. A total victory for our client! Not all law firms check the validity of client signatures on UM selection forms. Our clients can be assured of this attention to detail for each and every case.

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  • Over 60 Years of Combined Experience
  • Two Attorneys Board Certified in Civil Trial Law
  • Over $95 Million Recovered for Our Clients
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