Driver-fatigue is a leading cause of injury accidents, but fatigue in the workplace can also lead to personal injury cases. Lack of adequate sleep, extended or irregular work hours or physically or mentally strenuous occupations can all lead to fatigue either behind the wheel or at work. If fatigue causes you to injure another person, personal injury attorneys in Gilbert, AZ will pursue compensation for the injured party.
Driver Fatigue-Related Wrecks
Driving while you’re drowsy can lead to driver errors. While statistics aren’t conclusive because driver fatigue isn’t always identified as the cause of an accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates almost three percent of fatal car accidents and about 37,000 injury crashes are caused by fatigue each year, but these numbers could be much higher. In a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans said they’ve driven while feeling sleepy and 37% actually admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.
Commercial truck drivers are at a particularly high risk of driver-fatigue, because they spend so much time behind the wheel. According to the National Sleep Foundation, at least 15% of semi-truck accidents involve fatigue.
November 5-12, 2017 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, so personal injury lawyers in Gilbert, AZ want you to be aware of the warning signs you’re driving drowsy. These include:
- Drooping eyelids;
- Head nodding;
- Constant yawning;
- Blurry vision;
- Difficulty focusing;
- Frequent blinking;
- Drifting or tailgating;
- Suffering memory lapses; and,
- Sluggish reactions.
Workplace Fatigue-Related Accidents
Fatigue isn’t just a problem in car accidents. Occupational fatigue can occur in any field, but some industries are at higher risk than others. This includes employees who work incredibly long hours, work irregular shifts or schedules, or have few breaks during work or no breaks between workdays. These can include workers in the medical field, emergency personnel, airline pilots, professional drivers and shift workers. If your job is extremely taxing physically or mentally or you work multiple jobs, you’re also at higher risk. Sleep deprivation can catch up to you quickly and cause you to make potentially dangerous mistakes.
When you’re fatigued you may experience slower reaction times, be less attentive, make unwise decisions or have difficulty remembering tasks. Some mistakes made while fatigued can result in serious workplace accidents that could injure yourself and/or others.
Workplace fatigue can have particularly tragic results. In the medical field, fatigued surgeons who can’t concentrate during tricky operations, medical staff who make simple mistakes in drug calculations or diagnosis or emergency medical staff who can’t react quickly enough in dire situations can all cause horrific personal injuries. Also, like motor vehicle drivers, fatigued aircraft pilots, railroad conductors and ship captains can crash their respective vehicles. This could result in multiple injuries depending on how many passengers are aboard or whether the crash occurs in a populated area.
Recognize Drowsiness Signs
Whether you’re behind the wheel or on the job, ensure you’re not responsible for a fatigue-related accident or injury. Personal injury attorneys in Gilbert, AZ offer these tips to combat drowsiness in various situations.
- Never drive when you’re drowsy. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Never consume alcohol before driving or working, which increases drowsiness.
- Know the side effects of any medications you take and avoid driving and other potentially dangerous tasks, if drowsiness is a concern.
- Avoid driving when your body is naturally drowsy; between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. If it can’t be avoided, stay vigilant for warning signs you’re becoming too drowsy to drive safely.
- Take short naps, which are more effective than caffeine for restoring your energy levels. Ideally, naps should last up to 45 minutes, followed by another 15 minutes to ensure you’re fully awake.
- Reduce fatigue by staying well-hydrated and never skipping meals or eating at irregular times.
- Manage the severity of your fatigue with regular exercise, three to four times per week.
- Consult your doctor, if you suffer from daytime sleepiness or have difficulty sleeping. It could be a sign of a sleep disorder.
- Talk to your employer about creating a safer workplace by arranging the schedule to allow consistent work patterns, providing sufficient breaks at work and between shifts, and developing environments geared to keep workers alert.
Hire Top Personal Injury Attorneys in Gilbert, AZ
While there isn’t a conclusive way to measure whether a person was fatigued when an accident occurred, personal injury attorneys in Gilbert, AZ can examine the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine whether it was a factor. If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, call the attentive and caring personal injury attorneys at Lerner and Rowe for a free consultation. Our office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but our legal team is on-call 24/7 to take your call at (844) 977-1900, or use our convenient online LiveChat.