What can you do if the person that hit you was high? Does the fact that you were hit by a drugged driver affect your no-fault benefits or your Third Party claim? What if you were the one using controlled substances?
Drunk driving gets a lot of attention these days. Alcohol and drugs cause thousands of auto accidents every year, many of them fatal. But drugged driving accidents can be just as severe. In other cases, drugs and alcohol combine to create an even higher risk of injury or death. But what does drugged driving mean for your auto accident case?
Drugged Driving Laws in Michigan
It is illegal to drive high in Michigan. The same law that makes drunk driving a crime can also be used if a person is intoxicated. The law says that you are “operating while intoxicated” if alcohol, drugs, any other intoxicating substance (such as the vapor from huffing), or a combination of the three has caused you to become intoxicated, and you get behind the wheel.
Michigan says that having any amount of a schedule 1 controlled substance in your blood stream is enough to be considered intoxicated. That includes drugs like heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. However, other drugs, like Vicodin or other prescription drugs can be intoxicating too. If you use prescription drugs, make sure to talk to your doctor about their effects before you get behind the wheel.
Drugged Driving and No-Fault Benefits
Because Michigan has no-fault auto insurance, the fact that drugs were involved in your crash won’t affect your claim for PIP benefits. Even if you were the one who was high, if your injuries were the resulted from the use of a motor vehicle, you will likely be entitled to medical benefits, lost wages, and related expenses.
Drugged Driving and Third Party Damages
When a car crash results in serious injury or death, you may be entitled to sue the negligent driver for additional Third Party damages, beyond your no-fault benefits. If the driver who hit you was intoxicated, the blood test and police report showing drugs in a person’s system can be used to demonstrate negligence and prove that you are entitled to damages.
Drugged Driving Restitution
Because drugged driving is a criminal offense, you may be able to recover some of your damages more quickly, without the need for a lawsuit. Criminal “restitution” requires a person convicted of operating while intoxicated to repay certain economic harm suffered by the victims of that driver. This could include your medical expenses and damage to your car. However, restitution often does not cover all the non-economic damages that are available in a Third Party action.
If you have been hit by a drugged driver, you need an attorney who knows the science, as well as the law. At Christensen Law, our attorneys have been representing the victims of drugged driving for over 25 years. If you have been seriously injured by a drugged driver, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.