Abels & Annes

Chicago auto accident attorney takes on drowsy driving case

An Illinois injury lawyer at Abels and Annes has agreed to help a motorist that was recently injured by another driver who fell asleep at the wheel.

The Chicago-area car crash occurred earlier this month in Aurora, Illinois around 4 AM. The plaintiff was driving his 1999 Honda Accord home from work on Farnsworth Street. At that time the defendant, who was driving a 2007 Mitsubishi Gallant in the opposite direction, fell asleep at the wheel and crossed the center line, striking our client’s vehicle head-on.

The Aurora Police Department responded to the scene of the accident. After the investigation, they placed the defendant at fault on the police report.

Unfortunately, our client was seriously injured in the accident. He was taken by ambulance to Provena Mercy Medical Center with significant internal bleeding in his stomach. There he had to undergo emergency surgery. He was also having breathing/lung issues, right shoulder pain and low back pain. Due to the surgical procedure, he has a 8 to 10 inch wound which has been closed up with staples. He is expected to have a large permanent scar. He is also going to have to have follow-up medical care with several different specialists.

Our law firm has been brought in to pursue a claim against the at fault driver and his insurance carrier.

This accident is a good example of the dangers of drowsy driving. According to statistics gathered by the National Sleep Foundation, in the year 2005 approximately 60% of drivers (168 million drivers) stated that they had driven drowsy over the past 12 months, and 37% of those drivers had actually fall asleep at the wheel. Of those who fell asleep, 13% admitted that it happens to them around once a month. 4 percent, which is around 11 million motorists, said they were involved in a crash or a near collision due to drowsiness.

On the foundation’s website, DrowsyDriving.org, they go on to state that the federal government estimates that there are around 100,000 accidents each year caused by drowsiness. These accidents result in over 1500 deaths, 71,000 injuries and a financial cost of over $12 billion. These statistics are taken from police reports..

The foundation also speculates that these 100,000 accidents could be just the “tip of the iceberg” because it is often difficult to determine that sleepiness caused a collision for the following reasons:

– Police have no test to determine drowsiness (unlike DUIs where officers have many different tests).

– States have no consistent practice as to how to report crashes caused by sleepiness.

– Data from overseas (England, Finland, Australia and other European nations) where there are more consistent accident reporting methods compared to the USA, have statistics that show driver fatigue causes anywhere from 10 to 30% of all accidents.

The website also reports that many motorists are drowsy as they commute to and from work. Around 71% of Americans drive to their places of employment. 27% of those commuters admit to driving drowsy several days per month, 12% did it a few days a week, and 4% admit driving drowsy almost every day.

Drowsy driving accidents occur most with younger people, shift workers, and adults with children. The worst sleepy offenders are adults ages 18-29 who represent 71% of drowsy motorists, as compared to people ages 65 and over who represent a much lower 19%.

When you are behind the wheel, here are some warning signs that you are sleepy and that you should get off the road:

– You are yawning a lot – Blurred vision – Your head starts to nod and your eyelids droop – You have trouble remembering the last few miles driven, or you miss an exit or traffic sign – You drive off on the shoulder, drift from your lane or tailgate – You feel restless and irritable
Like drinking and driving, drowsy driving slows down your reaction time, impairs your judgment and increases your risk of being involved in an accident.


If you’ve been injured by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, contact an attorney at Abels & Annes for a free consultation. Call 312-924-7575.

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Teen driver education website

NHTSA Releases Car Accident Stats