Human bodies need regular, adequate amounts of sleep to perform our day-to-day tasks properly. For people that work shifts that fall outside of the hours of 6 am and 7 pm, this can be nearly impossible to achieve. Workers who wake up outside of their natural circadian rhythm often experience sleep that lacks refreshment and is difficult to wake up from.
The sleep schedules that people who work night, early morning, and rotating shifts must endure can cause insomnia, excessive sleepiness while awake, and recurring sleep loss due to a disruption in their circadian rhythm—also known as shift work disorder. Circadian rhythms are guided by natural light and darkness as the sun sets and rises, producing feelings of either sleepiness or energy. Shift work causes a misalignment in the traditional sleep-wake schedule and puts people at risk for shift work disorder.
How Does Shift Work Disorder Make Roadways Dangerous?
When people who suffer from shift work disorder get on the road, the results can be disastrous. Drowsy driving is a major public health issue, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been shown to impair a person’s driving ability, in the same way drinking too much alcohol would. In fact, being awake for 24 hours straight is said to equate to having a blood alcohol content of 0.10%, which is higher than the 0.08% limit in Florida.
Alternative shift workers are at high risk of motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy driving. Between 2009 and 2013, drowsy drivers were involved in about 21% of fatal crashes and 13% of crashes causing severe injury in the United States. Driving while drowsy is also said to increase a person’s risk of an accident by 4-6 times, making it one of the most prevalent causes of preventable crashes worldwide.
What Should You Do After Being Injured in a Shift Work-Related Car Accident?
If you have experienced a car accident that was caused by a drowsy driver, you know that the results have the potential to be catastrophic. After suffering from a wreck, there are several steps you should take, including:
- Step 1: Take care of injured parties. Call emergency services and get medical attention for anyone in need;
- Step 2: Gather personal information. Collect license and insurance information from all parties involved in the crash;
- Step 3: Document the scene. Take photos of all of the vehicles involved, all damage that occurred, and the overall scene. Write down any details you remember, like where and how the crash happened;
- Step 4: Report the accident. Even if the crash appears to be minor, you will need to contact the police to file a report of the incident;
- Step 5: Call your insurance provider. Any damages or injuries should be reported to your insurance company;
- Step 6: Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. By partnering with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, you will ensure that your rights are being protected and that you are compensated fairly for your damages.
Drivers that suffer from shift work disorder are a hazard to our public roadways. If you have been in an accident caused by a driver that was drowsy due to shift work, you will need to act quickly to preserve your case.
Hire a Trusted St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent You
Marsalisi Law is here for you. While we may not be able to reverse the effects of an injury caused by someone that suffers from shift work disorder, we can and will work to get you the compensation you are entitled to under Florida law. We will vigorously fight for your rights and see that you are reimbursed for your monetary and personal losses. Give us a call at (727) 800-5052 or complete an online contact form today to request a free consultation.
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