Recreational marijuana is legal in California. Proposition 64 become effective on January 1, 2018. Even though a person may legally use recreational marijuana, driving under the influence of cannabis remains illegal. A person can face serious criminal penalties for drugged driving or driving under the influence of marijuana. However, can a person be held liable for injuries caused by a drugged driving accident if the person legally ingested the cannabis?
Does Marijuana Affect Driving Abilities?
Some studies suggest the use of marijuana by drivers increases the risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents.[i] Laboratory tests and driving studies revealed that cannabis could impair a person’s driving-related skills, but the studies are not conclusive.[ii]
The fact that there was an increase in injuries and arrests related to driving under the influence of marijuana during the first nine months following the legalization of recreational cannabis seems to support the research.[iii] According to the CHP, arrests for driving under the influence of marijuana increased by 31 percent. Injuries related to drivers operating vehicles under the influence of marijuana increased by 102 percent.
Can I Sue a Person for Damages for Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis?
Yes, you can sue a driver who causes a traffic accident while driving under the influence of cannabis. You must prove that the driver caused the crash to hold the driver responsible for your financial damages and non-economic damages. The fact that the driver was charged with a crime is a factor, but it is not the only factor in proving liability. For example, did the driver cross the center line, fail to yield the right of way, or rear-ended your vehicle? Once you establish that the driver caused the crash, you can seek compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.
In a drugged driving accident case, you may receive compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability and impairment
- Other out-of-pocket losses and expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
Even though the driver was under the influence of cannabis at the time of the crash, the driver’s liability insurance should still pay if the driver caused the crash. The insurance company may deny the claim or attempt to undervalue the claim. A Sacramento drugged driving accident attorney can be a huge asset as you fight to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney for More Information
Our California drugged driving accident lawyers have experience handling cases involving drivers who caused a traffic accident while under the influence of drugs. Our legal team investigates the accident to determine fault and gathers evidence to prove the drugged driver is responsible for your damages.
Please contact The Tiemann Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers by calling (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website.
[i] Mu-Chen Li, Joanne E. Brady, Charles J. DiMaggio, Arielle R. Lusardi, Keane Y. Tzong, Guohua Li, Marijuana Use and Motor Vehicle Crashes, Epidemiologic Reviews, Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 65–72, https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxr017
[ii] Sewell, R Andrew et al. “The effect of cannabis compared with alcohol on driving.” The American journal on addictions vol. 18,3 (2009): 185-93. doi:10.1080/10550490902786934, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722956/
[iii] CHP hosts summit on cannabis traffic safety as DUI arrests, injuries rise. ABC7News. Matt Keller. https://abc7news.com/chp-hosts-summit-on-cannabis-traffic-safety-as-dui-arrests-rise/4068487/