In recent decades, drug use—both prescribed and illicit—is on the rise. Drivers used to have to worry mainly about others on the road who might be driving under the influence of alcohol, but recent studies show otherwise: in 2016, almost 21 million people over 16 drove under the influence of alcohol, while almost 12 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs. In a 2013-2014 National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Roadside Survey, one in five drivers tested positive for drugs. In a 2011 study focused on the role of prescription drugs in auto crashes, researchers found that more than 60 percent of those involved in crashes were taking some kind of prescription. The statistics go on, but the story stays the same—drugs and driving don’t mix.
If you were involved in a car accident while under the effects of a drug, or when another driver injured you while impaired by drugs, contact one of the skilled attorneys at The Florida Law Group. Call (813) 463-8880 to schedule a free consultation.
When using drugs, legal or illegal, a driver’s reaction time, motor skills, coordination, balance, and/or spatial orientation are compromised, making it difficult to drive safely. Car accidents that involve one or more drivers impaired by drugs can result in varied injuries, including, but not limited to:
The types of drugs found in impaired drivers involved in a car accident vary based on age. While not a hard rule, the general trend is that younger drivers are more likely to have illegal drugs in their system. As age increases, it’s more likely to find prescription drugs in the impaired driver. Here are the most common drugs found in impaired drivers:
Prescription drugs such as opioid painkillers are illegal when not prescribed. Also, most of these drugs cause harsher physical symptoms when mixed with alcohol. For example, someone may struggle with depression and take a popular antidepressant. Their doctor has adjusted the dosage to an optimum point, but the patient decided to have a few glasses of wine when out to dinner, causing the loss of some faculties as the alcohol interacts with the medication.
Ascribing fault in car accidents is rarely an easy task, but drugs cloud the waters even more. Several parties might hold some liability when a drug-impaired driver is involved in a crash, but who is determined ultimately liable depends on a variety of factors. Here are examples of some of the parties that may be at fault:
Commonly awarded damages in car accident claims that involved a drug-impaired driver can include:
Car accident claims that involve a drug-impaired driver are complex, especially if product liability and/or medical malpractice pursuant to the drug is involved. The most common defense for those to get out of paying is shifting blame. The driver blames the doctor or the drug dealer; The drug dealer or the pharma company blames the driver. It’s a vicious cycle where each party keeps passing the buck, and leaves the victim with a substantial challenge to obtain redress for their injuries.
Expect that the defense will try to place blame on you as well, or claim that you were driving recklessly or inattentively. The defense may also try to downplay any injuries you suffered to reduce the amount of damages that the court may award you. A skilled lawyer who is experienced with car accidents, products liability, and medical malpractice is an essential resource in cases like these.
Free consultations allow you to discuss your case with an attorney before making any decisions. These kinds of cases are also generally handled on a contingent fee basis: this means your attorney will deduct attorney’s fees only from any settlement that the court awards you.
If you live in the Tampa area and have been injured in a car accident because of a drug-impaired driver, let an experienced attorney worry about the details of the case, while you focus on recovery. Call The Florida Law Group at (813) 463-8880 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
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