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Tampa Drugged Driving Accident Lawyer

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 dont 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.

What Types of Injuries Are Associated With Car Accidents Involving Drug Use?

When using drugs, legal or illegal, a drivers 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:

  • Cuts, scrapes, and other lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries that lead to paralysis
  • Brain damage caused by a head trauma
  • Death

What Types of Drugs are Found in Drivers Who Get in Car Accidents?

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, its more likely to find prescription drugs in the impaired driver. Here are the most common drugs found in impaired drivers:

  • MarijuanaThe NHTSA survey reported more than 15 percent of drivers had THC in their system on weekend nights. Marijuana usage also clouds the line between illegal and legal drugs in many states, but marijuana is still illegal for personal use in Florida as of July 2018.
  • Sedative/hypnotics These include sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata.
  • Opioid pain relieversOpioids include heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and more.
  • ADHD drugsThese are psychotropic stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Strattera.
  • AntidepressantsThese include big-name selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, as well as tricyclic antidepressants such as doxepin and amoxapine.

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.

Who Can Be at Fault?

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:

  • Impaired driverThe impaired driver has taken the drugs, illegal or legal, and caused an accident: naturally, liability often lies with the driver.
  • Pharmaceutical company/sales repIf a prescription drug is defective, the company that manufactured the drug may be liable; for example, compromised motor skills or drowsiness could be an unknown side effect, or the packaging materials failed to warn the prescriber and/or patient.
  • Doctor/hospitalDoctors and hospitals may face liability if the doctor failed to warn a patient about the side effects of s drug, prescribed the wrong drug, or prescribed too high of a dosage.

What Kind of Damages Might Be Recovered When You Are Involved in a Car Accident With an Impaired Driver?

Commonly awarded damages in car accident claims that involved a drug-impaired driver can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

What Ways Do Those Liable Try to Get out of Paying Their Fair Share?

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. Its 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.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost Me?

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 attorneys 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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