Does driving high cause car accidents? Driving high means operating a vehicle while under the influence of a drug—specifically, cannabis. Cannabis contains several active ingredients that can affect body and memory functions. The first component, THC, may cause a driver to experience various intoxicating effects while behind the wheel. The second principal component, called CBD, can offer multiple healing effects.
Individuals who consume marijuana often report that they experience a sense of relaxation, heightened sensory perception, and a feeling of euphoria. However, when an individual is under the influence of cannabis, they may also become sleepy or forgetful, as well as confused and paranoid. Being high on cannabis may also cause a driver to experience a lack of concentration while they are on the road. Because of these adverse effects, drivers who are high on cannabis often cause serious accidents.
If you recently suffered injuries in a motor vehicle crash that resulted from an intoxicated or drugged driver, you should follow up at your local urgent care center or hospital emergency room for medical treatment. Next, you should reach out to a skilled car accident lawyer in your area who can begin handling the legal components of your case. A car crash lawyer can perform a general intake and meet with you to discuss your accident.
If you take legal action against the drugged driver who caused your accident, your lawyer can help you notify the appropriate insurance companies, file a claim on your behalf, and begin negotiating a favourable settlement offer. As the case progresses, your lawyer can help you determine if litigation is necessary. If it is, and you need to file a lawsuit in court, your lawyer can take the necessary legal actions on your behalf and work to recover the monetary damages you need.
Legal Limits for Driving High
Recreational use of cannabis is currently legal in Alberta. However, an individual who uses cannabis must be at least 18 years of age, and they may only purchase cannabis legally from a licensed cannabis retailer—or from a legal website. With the relatively recent legalization of cannabis in Alberta, many questions have arisen regarding cannabis use and safe motor vehicle operation.
It is against the law in Alberta for a person to operate a motor vehicle while they are high on cannabis. In fact, if they ultimately sustain a criminal conviction on this charge, they can be looking at severe penalties, including jail time, high monetary fines, and other legal consequences. Convicted drivers may also receive severe penalties if a police officer or investigator determines that they had both cannabis and alcohol in their system within two hours of driving a vehicle.
Likewise, if the drugged driver caused an accident, both they and their motor vehicle insurer may be responsible for paying the accident victim civil damages.
A driver is legally intoxicated if they have between two and five nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood in their system within two hours of operating a motor vehicle.
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Why Is Driving High so Dangerous?
The law in Alberta criminalizes both drunk and drugged driving because intoxicated drivers are far more likely than sober drivers to cause serious accidents. This is mainly because of the many adverse effects associated with drug and alcohol impairment. In particular, a driver who operates their vehicle while high may experience blurred vision, poor memory, impaired reflexes, and delayed reaction time.
As a result of these effects, a drugged driver may be unable to see an approaching driver or pedestrian in the vicinity. Consequently, they may inadvertently cause a crash that leaves one or more individuals seriously injured. Alternatively, these controlled substances can delay a driver’s reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle in time to avoid a crash. This is true even if the driver sees the approaching vehicle or pedestrian but is unable to stop in time.
Types of Car Crashes That Result From Drugged Driving
There is no disputing that intoxicated and high drivers may cause severe accidents while they are under the influence. Some of the most common accidents that result from drugged drivers include rear-end crashes, sideswipe accidents, T-bone collisions, car rollover accidents, and head-on collisions.
Drugged and intoxicated drivers frequently operate their vehicles far in excess of the posted speed limit. Consequently, they may be unable to slow down in time to avoid a crash. When this happens, they may cause a rear-end accident, where the front of their vehicle hits the rear of another car.
Moreover, many drugged drivers lose control of their vehicles and cannot operate their cars in a straight line. Consequently, if their vehicle veers off into another travel lane, they may sideswipe another car travelling in the same direction.
Next, a drunk driver may not see or appreciate an approaching red light or stop sign. If the driver enters an intersection without yielding the right-of-way to an approaching vehicle, they may cause a broadside accident or T-bone collision.
Similarly, when drunk drivers speed up and lose control of their vehicle, their vehicle may overturn in the middle of the roadway. These rollover accidents are widespread when drugged drivers speed down a hill or around a sharp curve. In a rollover accident scenario, other vehicles may strike the drugged driver’s overturned vehicle, leading to a massive, multi-vehicle pile-up.
Finally, head-on collisions happen when drugged drivers negligently veer across a double line or concrete barrier and strike the front of another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.
There is absolutely no excuse for an individual to operate their vehicle while high on cannabis or some other drug. Therefore, if you suffered injuries in any one of these accident scenarios, you are likely eligible to file a personal injury claim with the responsible driver’s motor vehicle insurance carrier. A knowledgeable car crash lawyer in your area can meet with you to evaluate your case and determine your claim-filing eligibility.
Injuries in Drugged Driving Car Accidents
Drugged drivers who speed and lose control of their vehicles often cause serious accidents, which in turn lead to debilitating injuries for affected drivers and passengers. Since every accident scenario is different, different accident victims may suffer other types of injuries.
Generally speaking, the more forceful the collision, and the higher the vehicles’ speeds, the more serious the injuries that an accident victim will suffer. The way in which the accident victim’s body moves in their vehicle can also affect the nature and extent of their injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that drugged driving accident victims suffer can include spinal cord injuries, full and partial paralysis, internal organ damage, traumatic head and brain injuries, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, open lacerations, and death.
One of the most important ways to ensure that your injuries do not worsen is to seek prompt and ongoing medical treatment following your accident. Once you are in the care of an experienced healthcare provider, the provider can monitor your condition and ensure that you receive all of the medical care you need.
In the meantime, a skilled car accident lawyer in your area can begin investigating your claim and gathering the necessary documents to use as potential evidence in your case.
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Negotiating With an Insurance Company Adjuster Following a Drugged Driving Car Accident
Once a lawyer determines that you are eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit following your drugged driving accident, they can start gathering the necessary paperwork and submitting documents to the appropriate insurance carrier. In most instances, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim directly with the drugged driver’s insurer. If the drugged driver was operating a vehicle while they were on the job, your lawyer can also involve the at-fault driver’s employer and their insurance company.
Once an insurance company accepts liability—or fault—for your accident, your lawyer can begin the settlement negotiation process. You should never try to negotiate a settlement offer with a settlement adjuster on your own. If the insurance company sees that you do not have legal representation, they will invariably lowball the settlement offer in your case, and they will not offer you fair monetary damages for your injuries.
A strong, aggressive personal injury litigation lawyer can handle all settlement negotiations on your behalf and pursue a higher settlement offer from the insurance company representative. However, if that higher offer is not forthcoming, your lawyer can threaten the adjuster with civil litigation and, if necessary, prepare a draft lawsuit.
If litigation is necessary in your personal injury case, your lawyer can help you every step of the way and advocate in court on your behalf. Your lawyer can also explore alternative dispute resolution options, like binding arbitration or mediation, in your case. Finally, your lawyer can help you select the best option which is the most likely to garner favourable monetary compensation in your case.
Pursuing Damages for Injuries You Suffered in a Drugged Driving Accident
Drivers and passengers who suffer injuries because of a drugged driver often need to miss work to attend physical therapy sessions and other medical appointments. They may also experience tremendous pain, suffering, and inconvenience, some of which may never go away. Fortunately, accident victims are often eligible to recover various types and amounts of monetary damages via a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
The types of damages that a drugged driving accident victim may recover will depend upon the particulars of their case, including the nature and extent of their injuries, whether they had to miss time from work after their accident, and their overall level of pain and suffering.
First, an accident victim can recover the earnings they lost while they were unable to work following their accident. Moreover, if they had to switch to a different job or career because they can no longer perform their work duties, they may be eligible to bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.
Affected accident victims can also receive monetary damages for their emotional distress, mental anguish, inconvenience, pain and suffering, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement. Finally, they can seek financial redress for the loss of their ability to use a specific body part, such as with a paralysis injury that affects their limbs, along with monetary compensation for loss of life enjoyment.
Since every car accident scenario is different, the damages you receive in your case may be more significant or lower than that another accident victim receives. Your lawyer can help you set realistic goals and expectations for your personal injury case and work to maximize your monetary recovery to the greatest extent possible.
Call a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
Intoxicated and drugged driving are two of the most common causes of motor vehicle crashes in Alberta. When a driver experiences impaired vision, limited concentration, and delayed reaction time, it is nearly impossible to operate their vehicle safely. Unfortunately, these poor choices often lead to serious car accidents and injuries.
If you sustained one or more injuries in a car crash that a drugged driver caused, you should speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer right away about your legal options. Generally speaking, the sooner you involve legal counsel in your case, the better your final result.
Moreover, taking prompt legal action in your case is essential because the statute of limitations applies to all car accident claims and lawsuits. Car accident victims only have two years from their accident date in which to file a lawsuit seeking monetary redress. If they wait too long to seek the compensation they deserve, the statute of limitations will prevent them from recovering any monetary damages.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can begin working on your case immediately, and they will file a lawsuit on your behalf if the statute of limitations is ready to expire. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, your lawyer can also assist you during every stage of the proceedings and work to maximize your monetary recovery via settlement or litigation. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.