Sometimes we follow all the laws we are supposed to on the road, and yet we get injured by a driver who is impaired by drugs or alcohol. If you have been hurt by a driver who was impaired by drugs, Neale & Fhima is here to help you recover compensation for your injuries. We will not be able to make the accident go away, but we can help you get compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, rehabilitation and more.
Drugged Driving Dangers in California
With all of the problems with opioids in America today, not to mention the fact that recreational cannabis is legal in California as of Jan. 1, 2018, more drivers are driving under the influence of drugs than ever before. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.8 million Americans drove under the influence of drugs that year. Further, a Governors Highway Safety Association study found that 43% of drivers across the country in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug.
The problem is that drugged impaired driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Marijuana can slow your reaction time and impair your judgment of distance and time. Coordination also is reduced. Drivers who have taken methamphetamine and cocaine can become more reckless and aggressive behind the wheel. Many opioids cause drowsiness and dizziness. All of these drugs can lead to serious car accidents.
Drugged Driving and Personal Injury Lawsuits
The key factor in a drugged driver crash that caused injuries or death is to prove under the law that the driver was under the influence to a point where their ability to drive and judgment were impaired.
One of the challenges of a drug-impaired driving case is that impairment from these substances is less well understood by jurors than impairment from alcohol. If your drugged driving accident goes to trial, more sophisticated expert testimony will be required to convince the jury that the driver was impaired by drugs at the time of the accident.
While some drugged driver cases involve legal drugs, many accidents involve prescription drugs. In a drug-impaired driver case, the following factors must be considered and/or proven when prescription drugs were involved:
- The driver was driving in a severely erratic manner at the time of the crash
- Expert testimony must be provided about how the particular drug affects the brain and impairs one’s ability to drive
- Whether or not the person who caused the accident was following the orders of his doctor about the amount of drugs taken
- Whether or not the person followed the orders of the doctor to not drive while taking drugs; this information can be challenging to obtain because of privacy laws
- Warning labels on the prescription drug bottle
Drugged-driver lawsuits are challenging and require the services of an accomplished California personal injury attorney.
Damages You Can Seek in Drug-Impaired Driver Lawsuit
Just as with drunk driving cases, you can seek financial compensation for your injuries when you are in an accident caused by a driver under the influence of drugs. After all, the costs of medical care, rehabilitation, counseling, lost wages, etc., can be overwhelming. These are some of the medical expenses for which you can seek compensation in an action against a drugged driver:
- Hospitalization costs
- Cost of surgery and various medical procedures
- Physical therapy costs and other rehabilitation
- Cosmetic surgery costs if the accident led to disfigurement and scarring
- Costs of prescription drugs
- Expenses for medical equipment and assistive devices
- In-home services even if they are not strictly medical in nature
Your California personal injury attorney can also help you recover lost income if you have been injured by a drug-impaired driver. If you have suffered serious injuries such as broken bones or back injuries, you could need extensive physical therapy before you are able to even leave the house again, and you may not be able to get a pay check for weeks or months.
Some car accident victims are so seriously injured that they cannot keep their jobs. They may need to take a pay cut and take another job that they can still do with their injuries. Sometimes the accident victim may be permanently disabled. In these cases, a personal injury attorney can help you determine what your lost income is and what you would have earned in the future.
Contact a Southern California Personal Injury Attorney Now
If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol, you need to be represented by an experienced Southern California personal injury lawyer. Neale & Fhima has years of proven experience in successfully pursuing personal injury claims for those harmed by the negligence of others. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.