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Car accidents: Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving

Although studies show that adults need at least seven hours of sleep every night, a significant number of people in Ontario and other provinces do not allow themselves the time to get enough sleep. When it comes to driving, the studies indicate that even missing one or two hours of the recommended hours doubles the risk of causing car accidents. In fact, researchers say drowsy driving can be compared to drunk driving. The comparison indicated that a person who slept only four to five hours during the past 24 hours had a crash risk similar to that of a driver whose blood alcohol level is .08 per cent or 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Those who had less than four hours of sleep were at a similar risk as drivers with blood alcohol levels of .12 to .15. This underscores the dangers of drowsy driving. There is no reliable way to know how many car accidents are caused by drowsy drivers. However, with the pace at which most people live their lives, it might be fair to say that a significant number of them sleep less than the recommended seven hours per night. From this can be deduced that many drivers risk not only their own lives on the roads but also the lives of their passengers and other road users. Victims of car accidents in Ontario could pursue financial relief if the negligence of other parties caused the crashes. Regardless of whether it was a drowsy driver or a drunk driver, if negligence can be established there are grounds to sue. This might be a complicated process, which could be simplified with the support and guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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Proving distractions caused car accidents could be challenging

Drivers in Ontario break the law if they use any hand-held entertainment or communication devices while driving. Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and checking the screen of a cell phone could be a fatal mistake. Other driving distractions include drinking beverages, eating, operating a GPS, checking maps and choosing playlists. Any of these activities could distract a driver just enough to cause a crash. Reportedly, data from 2013 indicates that distracted-driving accidents in Ontario, on average, were responsible for causing injuries every half hour. Authorities say a driver who focuses on the road is four times less likely to be in a collision than a distracted driver. However, hands-free or mounted devices are allowed, as long as they are not touched while driving. Penalties could be severe for violating the law — ranging from demerits, fines, licence suspensions, and even jail time. To avoid the consequences of distracted driving, safety advisers suggest drivers to switch their mobile phones to silent or turn them off while driving. To avoid the temptation to read a message or answer a call, locking it in the glove box could help. A driver could also record an answering message to inform callers that he or she is driving, or use any of the apps that block incoming texts and calls. If a phone must be used, the driver must pull off the road in a safe spot before making a call, sending a text or entering a destination in a GPS device. Victims of car accidents caused by distracted drivers caused their injuries are entitled to seek recovery of damages through the civil justice system of Ontario. However, proving that a driver was distracted can be challenging. For that reason, many victims seek the support and guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist in their pursuit of financial relief for economic and noneconomic losses.

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Which damages are recoverable after car accidents?

Being involved in crashes are typically traumatic experiences. Victims of car accidents in Ontario might have questions about their legal rights and for which damages they could pursue recovery. In cases in which the negligence of other parties caused collisions, the injured victims might have grounds to file personal injury lawsuits. The same applies to the surviving family members of a deceased victim of such an accident who can pursue wrongful death claims. When seeking recovery through the Ontario civil justice system, both economic and noneconomic damages may be claimed. Financial losses typically include medical expenses, end-of-life costs, when applicable, and loss of past and future income. Noneconomic damages could include emotional trauma and mental distress, usually grouped under pain and suffering. These claims can also include depression, scars, activity limits and possible shortening of life. Pain and suffering damages typically form part of claims that involve physical injuries caused by the negligence of others. However, exceptions exist, and an Ontario man claimed he suffered nightmares, anxiety and stress after seeing a fly floating in his bottled water. The court entered a monetary judgment against the bottling company, but that award was turned over upon appeal. In another case, a woman driver who struck a cyclist who did not survive the accident claimed the teenage cyclist’s negligence caused the crash that led to her emotional distress. The outcome of that claim is not known. Personal injury and wrongful death litigation are complicated fields of the law. For that reason, many victims of car accidents in Ontario seek the support and guidance of a lawyer who has experience in fighting for the rights of crash victims and surviving family members. A lawyer can assess the circumstances to determine the viability of a claim. If grounds exist, he or she can advocate for the client every step along the way.

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