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Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Los Angeles

If you were involved in a motor vehicle collision caused by a drugged driver, it is critical to begin working with a Los Angeles DUI accident lawyer to learn more about your options for seeking financial compensation. Driving under the influence of drugs happens more often than you might like to think in Los Angeles, and drugged drivers can be on the road at any time of the day. While we often think about impaired drivers as those who are using illegal substances or driving after using recreational marijuana, it is important to understand that a person can be responsible for a drugged driving collision even if that person was impaired as a result of a prescription medication. 

Driving under the influence of drugs in Los Angeles can lead to serious and debilitating injuries. If you were harmed, or you lost a loved one in a drugged driving collision, you should seek advice from a car accident attorney at Fisher & Talwar.

Getting the Facts About Drugged Driving in Los Angeles, California

What should you know about drugged driving in Los Angeles? The following are some facts and figures from the California Office of Traffic Safety that help to illuminate the serious problem of driving under the influence of drugs:

  • More than 40 percent of all drivers who are killed in motor vehicle collisions in California test positive for legal or illegal drugs;
  • Rate of drugged driving collisions rises each year in California and across the country;
  • Americans are using more and more prescription medications that can cause impaired driving, including antidepressants, sleep aids, painkillers, allergy medicines, and anti-anxiety prescription drugs;
  • Marijuana, even when purchased and used lawfully, can slow your reaction time and result in an impaired driving crash, particularly in the 30 minutes following consumption; and
  • Recreational marijuana users who drive after using the drug are 25 percent to 35 percent more likely than other motorists to be involved in a collision.

What Forms Does Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Take?

Driving under the influence of drugs can take many different forms in Los Angeles. To be clear, while some drugged driving crashes may involve the use of controlled substances, other drugged driving accidents can happen when a motorist simply uses a prescription medication that has potentially dangerous side effects that can include drowsy or impaired driving. The following are just some examples of the forms that a DUI drug accident collision can take:

  • Driver is under the influence of a controlled substance that is illegal under California law, such as heroin or cocaine;
  • Driver is under the influence of recreational marijuana purchased legally in the state of California;
  • Driver is under the influence of recreational marijuana and is underage, meaning that the driver was unlawfully using the recreational marijuana;
  • Driver is under the influence of a prescription medication purchased or used illegally without a valid prescription;
  • Driver is under the influence of a prescription medication lawfully prescribed by a healthcare provider; and/or
  • Driver is under the influence of any drug in addition to alcohol.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Drugged Driving Claim?

Most car accident cases, including those arising out of a DUI drug crash, will have a statute of limitations of two years. What this means is that you will only have a two-year time window to file your lawsuit against the drugged driver, and the clock on that time window will start ticking on the date of the collision. If you do not file your lawsuit within that two-year time window, the clock will run out and you will have a time-barred claim. 

Although two years is the most common statute of limitations for drugged driving accident lawsuits, you should know that some crashes may have a shorter time window. In cases where the drugged driver may have been a government employee, for example, you may have a much narrower time frame in which California law allows you to file your claim. To determine the statute of limitations for your case, you should seek advice from a Los Angeles DUI accident lawyer as soon as you can.

What Will Happen If I Am Partially At Fault for the Accident?

Sometimes drugged driving accidents, or crashes that occur because of driving under the influence of drugs, have more than one at-fault party. To be sure, even if the drugged driver was largely at fault for the collision because he ran a red light or crossed over a median and caused a head-on collision, for example, that drugged driver may argue that you also bear some responsibility for the accident or for the severity of your injuries.

While drugged driving accidents are often quite straightforward in terms of liability, you should know that an impaired driver can raise the defense of comparative fault if that driver believes you are partially at fault. How could you, as an injury victim in a drugged driving crash, be partially at fault? For example, the drugged driver might argue that you were texting on your cell phone at the time of the collision and that you might have avoided the crash but for your distracted driving. Or, the drugged driver might argue that you waited too long to seek proper medical attention after the wreck, allowing your injuries to become significantly worse and to require additional medical treatments or surgeries.

According to California’s comparative fault law, an injured plaintiff can recover damages whether that plaintiff is minimally at fault or substantially at fault. If the drugged driver does raise the issue of comparative fault and the court agrees, your damages award will be reduced by your own portion of fault.

Contact a Los Angeles DUI Accident Lawyer to File a Drugged Driving Claim

When another driver gets behind the wheel of a car after using any kind of intoxicating drug, from a prescription medication to recreational marijuana to an illegal substance, that driver can cause a serious collision resulting in life-threatening injuries. It is important to hold that drugged driver accountable. Depending upon the particular facts of your case, you may be eligible to seek compensation through an auto insurance claim or a car accident lawsuit against the impaired driver. One of the experienced Los Angeles drugged driving attorneys at our firm can discuss your case and your options with you today. Contact Fisher & Talwar to learn more about claims arising out of impaired driving crashes.