Edmonton Lawyers Discuss Marijuana-Impaired Driving and Car Accidents
Edmonton lawyers at McCourt Law Offices help car accident victims who have been injured by impaired drivers. It is well known and widely accepted that impaired driving causes vehicle accidents and personal injuries. It is perhaps less well known that in Canada, impaired driving does not just mean drunk driving – it also includes “drugged driving.” Drugs impair a person’s ability to drive safely and increase the risk of a car accident. Marijuana is a commonly used drug, and marijuana consumption is on the rise due to its legalization under Canadian criminal law. Edmonton lawyers at our law firm prepared this post to shed some light on marijuana-impaired driving, how it increases the risk of serious car accidents, and how to prove marijuana impairment in a claim for personal injury compensation.
Impaired driving causes accidents that lead to serious personal injury and death
Marijuana was recently legalized in Canada, but it was true even before legalization of marijuana that driving while impaired to any degree – by drugs, alcohol, or both – is against the law. Marijuana-impaired driving is illegal for good reason:
• Driving while impaired is the top factor contributing to serious vehicle accidents in Canada.
• Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is the drug most commonly detected in drivers.
• The percentage of drivers killed in vehicle accidents who test positive for drugs now actually exceeds the numbers who test positive for alcohol.
What has changed since marijuana was legalized is an increase in public concern about the risks of drug-impaired driving, increased police training to detect drugged driving, and toughening of penalties for impaired drivers.
How marijuana-impaired driving increases the risk of a car accident
Edmonton lawyers know that distracted driving and impaired driving are two of the biggest risk factors for serious car accidents. Both of these dangerous types of driving behaviour increase the chance of a car accident for the same key reason: the risk of a car accident is increased when a driver is not alert and focused on the task of driving. Marijuana affects reaction time, coordination, and attention, all of which translates into a reduced ability to make decisions quickly or handle unexpected events while driving.
Proof of marijuana impairment in a personal injury claim
To obtain personal injury compensation, an accident victim has the burden of proving that the car accident and the resulting injuries were caused by another driver’s negligence. Claims in negligence against drunk drivers are common and proof of alcohol impairment in a civil lawsuit is often straightforward, for example, by pointing to breathalyser test results or blood samples which objectively demonstrate the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”). Proof of marijuana impairment can be much less straightforward. Police may conduct field sobriety tests to screen for drug impairment, road-side screening devices can test saliva for the presence of drugs, and blood or urine tests might be done at a hospital or police station shortly after an accident. Unfortunately, drug screening and drug testing are not always done, and even they are, there can be difficulty when it comes to interpreting or relying on the results in a lawsuit for personal injury compensation. The effects of alcohol on driving ability has been thoroughly studied and linked to BAC levels. When it comes to drug concentration levels and their specific relationship to driving ability, there is less consensus in the legal and scientific communities. As top Edmonton car accident lawyers, we are carefully following new developments in drugged driving laws and how the courts are dealing with evidence of marijuana use.
How a personal injury lawyer can help you with a negligence claim against a drugged driver
When it comes to drugged driving, the basis of your personal injury claim will be that the use of marijuana impaired the driver and that the impairment caused or contributed to the vehicle accident. If you have been injured in a car accident and suspect that the at-fault driver was under the influence of marijuana when the accident occurred, Edmonton lawyers at McCourt Law Offices can assist you with proving your claim. For example, our Edmonton car accident lawyers can obtain police reports and evidence from police officers who were at the scene of the accident. We can also attempt to ascertain if investigators located and interviewed people who were with the at-fault driver shortly before the accident occurred who can testify about the driver’s consumption of marijuana, eyewitnesses who were at the scene of the accident who interacted with the at-fault driver, and people who were in contact with the at-fault driver shortly after the accident (such as ambulance attendants, nurses, or doctors) who may be able to provide evidence about signs of marijuana intoxication. If saliva, blood or urine testing was done, our Edmonton car accident lawyers can arrange for an expert to give an opinion on the at-fault driver’s level of impairment given the amount of marijuana in their blood at the time of the accident, or how a certain blood alcohol concentration level would likely impact a driver’s reaction time or coordination.
Edmonton car accident lawyers can help if you’ve been injured by a drugged driver
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident caused by a marijuana-impaired driver, the Edmonton lawyers at McCourt Law Offices are here to help. We exclusively represent personal injury claimants and do our utmost to ensure that our clients receive full and fair compensation for their injuries and losses. The Edmonton car accident lawyers at our firm offer a free initial consultation and if you decide to retain us there is no fee until you collect your cash compensation. Call 780-448-0011 today to schedule your free consultation.