The Top 3 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Drugged Driving Accidents in Georgia
When we meet with each prospective client during their free consultation, they ask us a number of questions about their case and their specific situation. Since drugged driving poses an ever increasing risk of injury for Georgia drivers, our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys have put together the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions about this extremely dangerous and life threatening driving hazard:
1. Why are laws that prohibit drugged driving more difficult to enforce than drunk driving laws?
Enforcement of DUI laws to prevent drunk driving became more effective with the creation of "per se" DUI laws that made it unlawful to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a certain threshold (currently .08 percent). Chemical results provide evidence that make it easier to obtain the conviction of alcohol impaired drivers so the laws provide a deterrent effect that combined with stiffer penalties has resulted in a decline in DUI fatalities.
However, police officers and prosecutors face a more difficult time proving violations of drugged driving because there is generally no "per se" threshold for the level of metabolites of particular drug that constitute DUI without proving unsafe driving or actual impairment of mental or physical driving skills. Further, many drugs will yield positive test results for weeks or even months after being ingested though they no longer have any impact on driving ability. These challenges make it much more difficult to eliminate the risk posed by drug impaired driving.
2. Can someone be found negligent if their drugged driving is linked to a lawful prescription for a medical condition?
Motorists involved in an accident because of the effects of a prescription medication cannot avoid liability merely because the medication was prescribed by a doctor. Motorists have a legal duty to avoid driving if they cannot safety operate their vehicle regardless of whether the cause is an illegal narcotic, prescription drug, alcohol or even an over-the-counter medication. Both prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications frequently come with warnings that the drug may cause drowsiness or that an individual taking the drug should not operate heavy machinery or drive. When drivers disregard such warnings, the mere fact that the medication was lawfully prescribed does not excuse drug impaired driving. In some cases, the pharmaceutical company or doctor might theoretically share liability where a patient taking a medication is not adequately warned of the risks of drowsiness or other effects that might impair driving ability.
3. How does drug impaired driving impact fault and damages in a Georgia car accident lawsuit?
While drug impaired driving generally is considered a negligent form of driving, personal injury victims also must establish a link between the impaired driving ability of the defendant and the crash. In other words, drug impairment alone is not sufficient to establish liability unless it somehow contributed to the collision. For example, the driver may have had slower reflexes when braking for backed up traffic on the interstate. Drug impairment may also impact damages. When a motorist engages in particularly egregious behavior, the jury may award punitive damages designed to punish and deter such activity in the future.
Contact Our Compassionate and Experienced Accident Lawyers at Montlick and Associates Today!
If you or a family member has been injured or a loved one has died in an accident caused by a drug impaired driver, our Georgia driving accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.