Drugged Driving

Driving while under the influence most often happens when the driver drank alcohol before driving. However, there are many intoxicating substances that drivers use or consume that impair their ability to operate a vehicle. North Carolina law prohibits driving while under the influence of alcohol, legal drugs, illegal drugs, and any intoxicating substances. Any substance that alters the driver’s ability to drive safely is prohibited. If you have suffered a car accident injury caused by a driver who drove while under the influence of drugs or other intoxicating substance, you may be entitled to compensation.

Under North Carolina tort law, drivers have a duty to use reasonable care while driving. Consuming legal or illegal drugs before or during driving will breach the duty of reasonable care when the drugs impair the driver’s ability to drive safely. Successful personal injury plaintiffs are entitled to several different types of compensation for their injuries, such as the cost of medical expenses, pain and suffering, and past and future lost wages due to time off of work. To learn how Arnold & Smith, PLLC can help you recover damages, contact our Charlotte personal injury law firm today. We offer potential clients a free, initial consultation.

Drugged Driving Causes Serious Injuries

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, driving while under the influence of drugs can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Driving while under the influence of drugs can cause poor judgment of time and distance, slow reaction times, and decreased coordination. When drivers use methamphetamine or cocaine, they can become increasingly aggressive and drive recklessly.

According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2017, 12.8 million people drove while under the influence of illegal drugs in 2017. The survey also showed that a higher percentage of adults age 21 to 25 drove after drinking or taking illicit drugs than adults age 16 to 20 or adults age 26 or older.

It is difficult to measure precisely how many motor vehicle crashes resulted from drugged driving because a reliable roadside test that indicates drug levels does not exist. Some drugs can stay in a person's system for days or weeks after use. Police do not often check for drugged driving. In many cases, drivers who cause motor vehicle accidents have both alcohol and drugs in their system. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, of the drivers who died in car accidents in 2016, 43.6% tested positive for drugs. Half of the drivers who tested positive for drugs tested positive for two or more drugs.

Drivers Can Abuse Legal Medication

Taking too much or too little legal medication or drugs can also cause reckless or negligent driving. Even when taken in the proper dosage, prescription medications such as benzodiazepines, opioids, and muscle relaxers can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and impair thinking and judgment. Driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving while drunk. All of these symptoms can cause car accidents.

Types of Medications and Drugs That Impair Driving and Can Cause Accidents

Any drug that has the potential to alter the mind can be dangerous while driving. Drivers should understand which drugs can negatively affect the body and the ability to make reasonably safe decisions. Prescription pain medications and anxiety medications can cause drowsiness, and some can cause blurry vision. Illegal drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamines can also cause drivers to drive recklessly or negligently. Drivers who take the following over-the-counter medications may cause accidents:

  • OxyContin
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Vicodin
Compensation Available to a Person Damaged by a Drugged Driver

Under North Carolina law, drivers whose negligence causes another person’s injury have a legal duty to compensate injured parties. Injured parties have a right to the following types of compensation:

  • All medical bills related to the injuries
  • The replacement or repair of any damaged or destroyed property in the accident
  • Lost wages for time off of work, including any time spent going to appointments
  • The cost of hiring household help
  • Any expenses related to disfigurement or permanent injury that arise from the accident
  • Any lost future earning ability caused by the accident
  • Any other costs related to damages caused by the drugged driving accident
We Can Help

If you have suffered an injury in a drugged driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Arnold & Smith Attorneys at Law, our skilled personal injury attorneys have helped many clients recover compensation for their injuries. Contact our Charlotte law firm today to learn how we can help you fight for your right to compensation.

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