Does Driving High Cause Car Accidents?

Does Driving High Cause Car Accidents?

Drugged driving can cause car accidents. Driving under the influence of a drug can have a similarly dangerous effect as driving under the influence of alcohol. However, many drivers continually decide to drive with drug impairment, whether they take prescription medication with severe side effects or illegal street drugs.

The reality is that any drug use before driving can result in serious injuries to others, including the possible loss of life.

Driving High Causes Car Accidents Guide

Drivers Are a Danger Anytime They Are Not Sober and Alert

Does Driving High Cause Car Accidents

Safe driving requires alert, coordinated drivers, quick to react to the circumstances. For this reason, drivers under the influence of drugs are not generally safe drivers.

While a drug like methamphetamine may increase alertness, other side effects may make the driver more dangerous. If a motorist in your accident tested positive for one or more drugs, your attorney must consider how the drug may have contributed to the collision.

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How Different Drugs Can Make Drivers More Dangerous

Different drugs take different effects on the user, and some of the dangerous effects of specific drugs include:

  • Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine can cause confusion, anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, and aggression. Each of these symptoms can be extremely dangerous when the person experiencing them is controlling a motor vehicle. 
  • Marijuana: Marijuana can slow a motorist’s reaction times, distort perception, and affect a driver’s coordination. While some consider marijuana a harmless drug, those who drive under its influence cannot operate a vehicle as safely as completely sober.
  • Cocaine: Cocaine can make a driver reckless and aggressive, noting that its effects may be similar to methamphetamine.
  • Opioids: As widespread opioid addiction is a serious issue across the United States, Americans are more cognizant of opioids’ dangerous effects on drivers. Opioids can impair cognitive and motor function. Motorists cannot operate a vehicle safely without control of their mental and physical abilities. 
  • Prescription drugs: The specific type of prescription drug in question will determine its potentially dangerous effects on a driver. The NHTSA notes that certain prescription drugs cause drowsiness, dizziness, and other side effects that may pose an extreme risk to the motorist causing an accident.

Of course, alcohol can significantly impair a motorist. A drunk driver may be impulsive, slow to respond to hazards, out of control of their vehicle, and far more likely to cause a severe accident.

How Do You Know If a Motorist Negligently Used a Drug?

Several symptoms may indicate that drugs impaired a motorist:

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness 
  • Unusually fast speech
  • Delayed responses
  • Twitching and other abnormal behaviors
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bloodshot eyes (which may indicate marijuana use)
  • Incoherent or nonsensical responses to questions 
  • The observation of drugs or drug paraphernalia in the vehicle
  • Admissions by the motorist that they are under the influence of a drug 

Drug recognition experts (DREs) may use several techniques to gauge driver impairment, including:

  • Eye exams
  • The one-leg stand test
  • Muscle tone exams
  • Other physical assessments and behavioral tests

Blood tests may also help prove that a motorist is under the influence of one or more drugs. Your attorney may work with medical and drug abuse experts to spot indications that a motorist was under the influence during your accident.

Can a Motorist Safely Use a Drug That a Doctor Has Legally Prescribed?

Motorists are responsible for understanding the effects of any prescribed drug they take. For example, a motorist may have a legal prescription for a sleeping pill, but they cannot take it before getting behind the wheel if it interferes with safe driving. In this case (and others where a motorist uses a prescribed drug dangerously), you can hold the motorist liable when their drug use contributes to an accident.

Dangerous Driving Behaviors That Impaired Motorists May Engage In

Drugs can make motorists impulsive, inattentive, and generally careless.

These unsafe states can lead a motorist to:

  • Speed
  • Change lanes without adequate clearance
  • Run red lights and stop signs
  • Tailgate
  • Veer out of their lane
  • Engage in other actions that increase the risk of a collision

When motorists drive high, they expose others to an unacceptable risk of harm. When impaired motorists cause an accident, you can hold them liable for your resulting damages.

How Accident Victims Pursue Justice for a Collision with an Impaired Motorist

Many victims of impaired drivers hire a lawyer to seek compensation for their damages. Once you have received a comprehensive medical exam and ensured you are on the road to recovery, retain an attorney as soon as possible.

By hiring a lawyer, you will:

  • Protect yourself from insurers and other parties who may want to avoid paying the compensation you deserve
  • Allow you to prioritize rest and recovery
  • Protect yourself from the stress of an insurance claim or lawsuit—your lawyer will take care of these processes for you

So long as you choose the right lawyer, you can rest easy knowing that a trusted professional will handle your case.

Why Victims of High Drivers Hire Personal Injury Lawyers

While each client has their reasons for hiring a personal injury lawyer, some common reasons include:

  • Injuries: Those who suffer injuries in a car accident may have severe physical limitations. If injured car accident victims try to lead their own case, they may worsen their injuries or create new health problems.
  • Mental health struggles: Car accidents can deteriorate a victim’s mental health. The stress of an insurance claim or lawsuit may be too much for an already fragile accident victim to endure.
  • Lack of legal experience: Most car accident victims are not lawyers. Therefore, they may have limited experience (or no experience) leading an insurance claim or lawsuit. Rather than trying to learn the ropes in a high-stakes case, many accident victims trust their cases with experienced legal professionals. 
  • Lack of time: Many car accident victims have little time to spare, even before their accident. Following an accident, time may be even harder to come by. Therefore, many accident victims simply lack the time to deal with a claim or lawsuit. 
  • Lack of financial resources: When a law firm offers to cover the upfront cost of a car accident case, many accident victims accept the offer. If they lead their own case, the car accident victim generally has to pay for their case out of their pocket. 

An experienced legal team offers financial resources, insurance claims, lawsuit knowledge, and the time necessary to build a comprehensive case. Unsurprisingly, many victims of drug-influenced motorists find this offer appealing.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Will Fight for the Compensation You Deserve

Car accident victims deserve to focus on their recovery. Attorneys know this, so they handle every step in their clients’ car accident claims, including:

Dealing With Insurance Companies

From the moment a car accident happens, an attorney must protect their client from insurers. While compensation from insurers can be immensely helpful for a car accident victim, insurers have a financial incentive to pay as little as possible.

Your attorney will handle all insurance-related interactions, including:

  • Managing all phone calls, in-person meetings, and written correspondence with insurance representatives
  • Helping you craft a written statement about the accident
  • Clarifying the details of all applicable insurance policies 
  • Providing any documentation insurers request

If insurance companies want to contact you, they’ll need to go through your attorney. This will protect you from unnecessary bother and attempts to violate your rights.

Obtaining Evidence

Your lawyer will pursue any evidence that helps your case, including:

  • Video footage of the accident
  • Blood tests proving the driver’s drug impairment
  • A law enforcement officer’s report, which may indicate the driver’s impairment
  • Eyewitness accounts of how the accident happened
  • Expert testimony about the liable party’s impairment, how the accident happened, or other aspects of your case
  • An expert’s reconstruction of the collision

A lawyer should take advantage of all the evidence available to them. By hiring experts, the attorney may create evidence that helps your case.

An attorney must identify the specific harm resulting from the drug-impaired driver’s negligent actions.

The law calls this harm damages, and a lawyer may document those damages with:

  • Expert testimony (which may cover mental health effects, injuries, and other damages from the car accident)
  • Medical bills and records
  • Invoices for vehicle repairs and temporary transportation
  • Proof of time missed from work and the income the victim has lost because of the missed time

Your lawyer will secure all available proof of your damages. This documentation will be a crucial feature of settlement negotiations. Your attorney will consider your existing and future damages as they calculate the value of a fair settlement.

Negotiating a Settlement

Once your lawyer has gathered all relevant facts, evidence, and documentation, they will enter settlement negotiations. Initial negotiations may be with insurers, and your attorney will press those insurers to pay the compensation you deserve.

Completing a Trial (if Necessary)

The trial is an alternative to settling. If your attorney exhausts settlement negotiations but does not receive a fair offer from liable parties, they may proceed to court.

Damages Victims of High Drivers May Get Compensation For

The cost of a car accident relates to the severity of injuries victims suffer. However, even an accident that causes seemingly minor injuries can prove costly due to the high cost of medical treatment and lost income from missing even a few days of work.

Damages that personal injury lawyers consider when leading a car accident case include:

  • Medical bills, including the cost of ambulance transport, emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, rehabilitation, medications, and any other items or services you require after your car accident
  • Pain and suffering, a class of non-economic damages that can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), physical pain, lost quality of life, and other forms of psychological, emotional, and physical harm
  • Property costs, which may include repairs of your vehicle, replacement of a totaled vehicle, temporary transportation, and other property-specific expenses
  • Professional damages, including lost income, diminished earning power, lost benefits, lost promotions, lost bonuses, and other professional harm

If your injuries are disabling, you may need a disability-friendly vehicle, changes to your home, lifelong medical care, in-home caregiver services, and additional items and services. Attorneys calculate their clients’ damages on a case-by-case basis to ensure they seek a fair settlement.

Damages in Fatal Car Accident Cases

In the worst-case scenario, a high driver can cause an accident that claims a victim’s life. These cases are high-stakes, as surviving loved ones trust their attorney to get justice for the loss of their family member.

Recoverable damages in fatal car accident cases may include:

  • The decedent’s pain and suffering
  • Surviving loved ones’ pain and suffering
  • Funeral-related bills
  • Medical bills
  • Property expenses
  • Loss of a spouse’s companionship
  • Loss of a parent’s guidance
  • Loss of the decedent’s household contributions 
  • Loss of the decedent’s income

A wrongful death causes substantial pain for surviving loved ones. Rather than face the trauma of their loved one’s passing once again, many survivors allow a lawyer to fight for justice on their behalf.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Clients face no direct financial cost when they hire a personal injury lawyer. Instead, personal injury firms agree to accept a percentage of any financial recovery they get for the client.

This means that the law firm:

  • Pays the entire cost of completing the case
  • Receives no guaranteed fee
  • Gets a percentage of the settlement or judgment they get for the client
  • Don’t receive compensation unless they win

The law firm has a significant financial incentive to win the client’s case. The greater the financial recovery the law firm gets, the larger the firm’s fee.

Find Your Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Your lawyer may face a strict deadline for filing your car accident case. Do not wait to research lawyers and complete free consultations. The sooner you hire a personal injury lawyer, the sooner they will start fighting for the compensation you deserve.