Insomnia is a serious sleep problem that affects millions of people in the United States. Indeed, experts estimate that insomnia costs the American economy around $63 billion in lost productivity every year, with sleep deprivation affecting around 23 percent of workers. Insomnia can lead to several serious health problems, but the indirect effects of the condition can have far-reaching consequences. Learn more about the way that insomnia affects human health, and find out why experts believe the condition could lead to many personal injury lawsuits.
Insomnia causes and side effects
Most people have the occasional sleepless night, but persistent insomnia is a serious problem. Insomnia occurs when people find it hard to get to sleep and/or stay asleep, even though they have the opportunity to get enough rest. The average adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, but when you start to rack up a sleep debt, your health can quickly suffer.
People with insomnia generally feel unwell after any amount of sleep. Sufferers quickly become irritable, depressed and anxious, and the stress of the problem often leads to stomach discomfort. Insomniacs also find it difficult to pay attention and concentrate, and you're more likely to make mistakes when you don't get enough sleep.
Insomnia can occur for several reasons. The condition commonly affects people who suffer with stress at work, school or home. A stressful event, like a death in the family, can also bring on a bout of insomnia. Some medications, including corticosteroids and antidepressants, can also lead to insomnia, as well as underlying medical conditions like cancer, arthritis and lung disease.
How insomnia can lead to accidents
The fatigue, irritability and diminished cognitive function that insomnia causes can also increase the risk of accidents. A study by the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine sampled health records to look for any link between insomnia and personal injuries.
The study found a strong link between insomnia and accidents in and outside the workplace. People with the disorder were 1.8 times more likely to have an accident at work and 1.5 times more likely to have an accident elsewhere. Significantly, the study also found that insomnia greatly increased the risk of an accident for people with other medical problems. Severe headaches, chronic back pain and chronic bronchitis were all common in insomniacs who had accidents outside the workplace.
What insomnia could mean for drivers
According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, around 2.3 million people suffer injuries in road accidents in the United States each year. With one in four people also experiencing insomnia, experts believe that the sleep disorder is the contributing factor in many of these accidents.
Insurance companies and attorneys are certain to agree. In any road traffic accident lawsuit, both attorneys will try to prove that the other driver was negligent. It's not always easy to prove negligence, but an attorney will look for evidence that a driver was not reasonably careful and violated his or her duty of care.
An attorney will normally examine the other driver's medical history. If your medical records show that you are receiving treatment for insomnia, an attorney will often attempt to show that the disorder caused your negligence. In these cases, a court may rule that you are to blame for the accident.
The other person may file a personal injury lawsuit against you. He or she may claim that your negligence caused an injury that led to lost wages and unexpected medical bills, as well as pain and suffering. In many cases, the plaintiff can claim compensation from you on these grounds.
Actions drivers should take
To avoid the increased risk of an accident, people with insomnia need to think carefully before driving until they can deal with the symptoms. Insomniacs now benefit from a range of treatment options, including cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques and light therapy. In some cases, doctors can prescribe medications that will help you sleep, and over-the-counter remedies are available, too.
Awareness of the issue is vital. Realistically, insomniacs greatly increase the risk of an accident every time they get behind the wheel. During a bad episode, it's often advisable to switch to public transport, or share the journey with friends or family, so somebody else can get behind the wheel. Drivers must take steps to make sure they are not negligent on the road, which could mean giving up the car for a certain period.
Insomnia is a serious medical condition that affects millions of American drivers. The condition also increases the risk of a car accident, so if you want to avoid a personal injury lawsuit, it's time to seek medical help for your insomnia. On the other hand, if you are already involved in a personal injury lawsuit, check out the site here to find an attorney to help defend your case.