Can I Pursue Compensation for an Auto Accident Caused By a Drugged Driver?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you have suffered an injury or a loved one has been killed in an auto accident involving a driver under the influence of narcotics, you have the legal right to a fair settlement. You can file compensation claims against the driver for the injuries you sustained or for the wrongful death of your loved one.
Even if you are up to 50% to blame for the accident. Under Michigan Compiled Laws section 600.2959, your damages are reduced in proportion to your fault for the accident.
Is Drugged Driving on the Increase in Michigan?
There is an increasing likelihood of being involved in an accident with a drugged driver.
In 2017, Michigan State Police statistics showed that drugged drivers caused 127 crashes that killed 141 people in the state and that the number of these types of crashes is on the rise.
The Drug-Impaired Driving Report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association from 2017 found that over 400 drugs tracked by the NHTSA were detected in positive blood tests reported from drivers involved in collisions or negligent driving accidents.
Is Drugged Driving Illegal in Michigan?
In her substance abuse and driving report, Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has said that Michigan will not tolerate drunk or impaired drivers. Driving while unfit from alcohol or drugs is illegal.
Due to several factors, such as combined excess alcohol and drug use, lack of reliable testing equipment, there are no reliable statistics to show how many crashes are caused by drugged driving. However, from the data available, it is suspected that several hundred people are killed, and several thousand are injured in Michigan each year in crashes involving drugged or drunk drivers.
Under Michigan law, it is illegal to drive:
- While under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- With any quantity of a Schedule 1 drug in your body’s system.
How Do Drugs Make the Driver Dangerous
Narcotics affect drivers in different ways, depending on the kind of drug taken. The quantity taken also plays a significant role in the level of driver impairment. Drugs may cause reactions such as:
- Methamphetamine or cocaine may cause the driver to behave recklessly or aggressively.
- A driver’s reaction time and judgment may be impaired, and their coordination slowed by using marijuana or opiates.
The impairment of a drugged driver’s faculties makes them a danger to themselves and other road users and can significantly increase their chances of having an accident.
Proving Liability for Drugged Driving Accidents
When filing a claim against an at-fault driver, you will need to prove negligence. There are elements you must prove to successfully pursue a claim for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.
- Drivers have a duty of care toward other road users. You will need to show that the defendant failed to observe this duty of care by breaking the rules of the road.
- You will need to show that breach of duty was the cause of the accident.
- You will have to show that the accident caused your injury and other expenses you would not have had if the crash had not occurred.
These are the same elements that you would have to prove in an injury claim against a drunk driver.
Proving negligence in drug driving claims can be challenging. You can benefit from advice from our knowledgeable car accident attorneys at Cochran Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our auto accident lawyers can guide you through your legal options and what you need to do when you file a claim if you suspect you were harmed by a driver under the influence of drugs.
Proving a Driver Has Taken Drugs
If you are unfortunate enough to be hit by a drugged driver, there are important steps to take. These steps will ensure you have the best possible evidence when you file a lawsuit.
- Call the police. If you suspect the other driver has taken drugs. The police need to attend the accident and test them for alcohol or drugs. If a driver is over the blood alcohol limit, the police will not normally test for drugs. Prosecutors in drugged driving cases typically rely on blood tests taken from the at-fault driver and the evidence of impairment given by the police officers attending the scene.
- Use your smartphone to take pictures of the vehicles and your injuries.
- If there are any witnesses around, try to collect their contact information. If possible, try to get a statement at the scene. The longer you leave taking statements, the less reliable the witnesses’ recollections are.
- You may also ask to review dash cam video footage to be used to determine if the at-fault driver appears noticeably impaired. Body cam footage is also a valuable source of evidence, but currently, only Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Detroit police departments consistently use body-worn cameras.
Get the Help You Need After an Auto Crash
If you have been involved in a crash with a drugged driver, you will need the help of a skilled Michigan personal injury lawyer to help you through the complexities of the law and the formalities of the claim process.
Bringing lawsuits against drugged drivers in Michigan is a complicated process. If you don’t hire an attorney, you may be offered a lower settlement than you deserve for your injuries, and the drugged driver responsible for the accident may go unpunished.
Our experienced car accident attorneys can file your claim and negotiate with the other party’s insurance company and legal representatives so you can focus on your recovery.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.