Sleep deprivation is a well-documented risk factor for car crashes. Several statistics and studies have found that drowsy people are more likely to be in car accidents. Simply put, driving when you are drowsy is dangerous. It is just the same as driving under the influence (alcohol and/or drugs). Driving when you are sleep deprived puts not just your life but also the lives of others at risk.
What causes sleep deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is a common problem today. When a person gets less than 6 hours of sleep (doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep every day), a person is said to be sleep-deprived. The effects of sleep deprivation affect young people more than the elderly because as you grow older your body needs less sleep. That is why in most of the car accidents caused by sleep deprivation, it is usually a young person behind the wheels.
The commonest causes of sleep deprivation are-
- Stress and anxiety
- A new baby
- Hormonal imbalance
- Irregular work hours
- Demanding jobs
- Sleep apnoea
Effect of sleep deprivation on the body and subsequently on driving
Sleep keeps our body and minds healthy and active. When you do not get enough sleep, the first effect is felt in the way your brain works. Every cognitive ability is affected by lack of sleep. Your brain cleanses its cells when you are asleep. And when you don’t sleep enough, the cellular waste keeps building up and this slows down the function of the cells. The brain cells and nerves cannot communicate information to the rest of your body.
Hence, you experience-
- Loss of focus or concentration
- Slowing down of your reaction time and motor skills
Extreme sleep deprivation can also affect your ability to coordinate your limbs and eyes.
Since a person is not completely in control of his/her motor skills and can’t focus on the task at hand (driving), the likelihood of causing an accident shoots up. Some sleep-deprived people even fall asleep behind the wheel.
Sleep deprivation caused accidents
In most cases of road accidents caused by sleep deprivation, the driver is considered at fault. Fatigued driving is a growing problem in Canada. Every driver is legally expected to do everything necessary to ensure that he/she is exercising maximum caution while driving. This includes getting enough sleep and being well-rested so that a person can operate a vehicle safely and pose no threat to the life of others.
That is why, if a person causes an accident despite knowing that he/she was sleep-deprived, it is considered to be a case of personal injury and the victim can claim compensation for the damages (physical and psychological) sustained.
What should you do if have been in a car accident caused by sleep deprivation?
There are a few things you must do right after the accident that will help your personal injury lawyers build a strong case and procure you the compensation you deserve for treatment and therapy of your injuries, disruption of livelihood, emotional trauma, and loss of income (if you lose your job or cannot go back to work).
- Gather as much evidence as possible. If you are not severely injured, then take photos of the scene. Remember every detail and write them down. Were there CCTV cameras covering the scene? Retrieve any applicable dash-cam or CCTV footage. Your notes and photographic evidence will come in handy when your personal injury lawyers draw up a course of action.
- Call the police immediately and file a complaint. Keep a copy of the police report.
- Go to the hospital even if you think that your injuries are minor. It is likely that your injuries are more severe than you believe. Doctors’ and therapists’ reports are crucial to building a case for personal injury. Make sure every aspect of your treatment is well documented and signed by doctors, therapists, or nurses with valid registration. Follow their instructions. When the time comes, hand copies of these reports to your lawyers.
- The insurer of the sleep-deprived person who caused the injury will try to come to an agreement with you. However, most insurers only pay a fraction of the settlement that you deserve. They may only pay for your treatment or therapy. Do not sign any agreement with them because you may be entitled to compensation on other grounds as well.
- Get in touch with personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. There is a specific time window for issuing a lawsuit because of the statute of limitations. You will need experienced lawyers who will conduct a thorough investigation, collect witness statements and evidence, file the personal injury case, and try to reach an out-of-court settlement or take it to trial if necessary. There will be a volume of paperwork and legal details that you might not be able to handle by yourself.
At Claim Settlement, our network of lawyers have 20 years of experience in handling personal injury and accident cases and has recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Our initial consultations are absolutely free and you don’t pay until our networks of lawyers have procured you the compensation you deserve. If you have suffered an injury or been in an accident call us at 1-833-892-5246 for a free consultation or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org