A recent study published by New York’s Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that more than 40% of drivers who reported using alcohol or cannabis in the last year drove under the influence. Drivers who reported using both substances were almost 3x as likely to drive under the influence. With this disturbing trend revealed coupled with the rise in car accidents, innocent drivers are all too often injured by the negligence of others on the road.
What is Driving Under the Influence?
Alcohol, marijuana, and even prescription drugs can alter a person’s ability to drive a car and might lead to a traffic stop or an accident. When a person drives after ingesting an intoxicating substance, they are operating a vehicle under the influence of a drug.
While most people associate charges of “driving under the influence (DUI)” with alcohol, drivers can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence for a host of substances, including cannabis and legally prescribed prescription drugs. for using marijuana before getting behind the wheel. Importantly, it does not matter if you are using a doctor-recommended dosage of prescription drugs or not. If you do need heed warnings and guidelines and get behind the wheel, you may be charged with driving under the influence.
What Happen If You’re Injured by a Driver Under the Influence
When an impaired driver causes an accident, the driver will likely have legal liability to anyone injured in the accident. Whether you were a passenger in the same vehicle as a drunk driver, if you were in another car, or if you were a pedestrian, you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit in order to obtain financial compensation for your injuries. In the event of fatality, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Your personal injury lawsuit will be targeted at recovering sufficient financial compensation to pay for all your expenses arising from the accident.
One point of consideration is the level of impairment. A drunk driver can be found negligent even if the driver’s level of impairment was under the legal limit. That means, if a driver is found to have a blood alcohol level lower than what is considered a criminal offense, it still may be possible to file a claim against the driver. Any type of impairment can be considered negligent in a personal injury claim.
In terms of marijuana use, most any use is prohibited by law. If a driver is found to be high while behind the wheel, he or she could not only be arrested but may also face civil consequences – like a personal injury lawsuit – from anyone injured by the driver’s actions. Most states have laws that are “effects-based,” meaning that officers and the court can consider video footage, officer testimony, the expert testimony of a drug recognition expert, or results of a blood test.
While most recognize the “effects-based” measure as the best option for determining if a driver is impaired, seventeen states have taken a harsher path - zero tolerance, which criminalizes any, even the slightest, use of a drug before driving.
Get Help After a Car Accident
If you were injured in a car accident and suspect or know the other driver may have been under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or a dangerous prescription drug, contact the legal team at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, to understand your options.
At the firm of Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case and build evidence to support your claim. We take pride in our mission to fight to protect the rights of those who have been injured through negligence or reckless disregard for human life. You deserve the support of an experienced advocate, and we will fight to recover substantial compensation for you. We can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.