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What can you do if you are in a car accident and the person who hit you was high? Is a drugged driving accident any different once you get to court? What if you were the one operating under the influence of a controlled substance?
Drugged driving is a problem in Michigan. Every year, thousands of people are injured by motorists who get behind the wheel high. And while drunk driving is more famous, drugged driving accidents can sometimes be harder to predict and avoid. That’s because a drugged driver can behave differently, depending on what he or she has consumed, and how much of it.
It is illegal to drive with any amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance in your blood stream. That includes heroin, cocaine, and even marijuana. If you are found with any trace of a controlled substance in your system, you can be charged with operating while intoxicated – the same law that applies to drunk driving. Prescription drugs can cause intoxication too, so make sure you talk to your doctor before getting behind the wheel.
The law creates a bit of confusion when it comes to medical marijuana patients. These patients are legally protected when using cannabis as an alternative to opiates for chronic pain or other serious illnesses. The courts have said that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (as it is spelled in the law) allows protection for drivers with residual THC in their systems. However, patients are still not allowed to drive while actively intoxicated.
Because Michigan auto insurance is “no-fault” it doesn’t matter if a person is high at the time of an accident. As long as the injuries are related to the use of a motor vehicle “as a motor vehicle”, the accident victim is entitled to benefits.
When a drugged driver causes a serious injury or fatal accident, your auto accident attorney can use his or her intoxicated state in court. Your Michigan drugged driving accident lawyer can introduce drug tests and police reports to show that the driver was breaking the law, and was therefore negligent. This will allow you to collect Third Party recovery including non-economic damages.
The person using the drugs isn’t automatically the one who caused the accident. If a passenger or pedestrian is high, for example, he or she may still be able to sue for Third Party damages, even though they were using illegal drugs at the time. However, in many of these cases, the driver’s attorney will argue that the drug use was “comparatively negligent” and his or her recovery may be reduced accordingly.
Drugged driving accidents can be complicated. You need a Michigan drugged driving accident lawyer who understands the laws and the science to build your strongest case. At Christensen Law, we have been handling drugged driving cases for over 25 years. We will help you get the recovery you need so you can go on with your life.