What if a Driver Hits Me While Under the Influence of Drugs?

When most people think of driving under the influence, they only think of drunk driving. Though this is certainly one of the more common forms of driving under the influence, there are many other drugs individuals partake in before getting behind the wheel which drastically increase the rates of an auto accident.

Driving Under Influence Of Drugs

In the state of Nevada, it is illegal to drive while high on any controlled substance, or even over-the-counter drugs that change a driver’s ability to maneuver their vehicle. Like drunk driving, “drugged driving” carries harsh penalties including jail, severe fines, and license suspension. If you have been in a car collision with another driver who may have been under the influence at the time of the crash, you may have a legal case against that individual. Contact a Las Vegas automobile accident lawyer to learn more.

Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs Defined

The state of Nevada defines driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), as: “Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any ‘chemical, poison or organic solvent, or any compound or combination of these, to a degree which renders the person incapable of safely driving or exercising actual physical control of a vehicle.’”

This includes legal drugs, such as sleep aids and cold medications that may alter an individual’s ability to drive. Even if it is medication that your doctor prescribed, it is illegal to drive after taking it if it alters your ability to operate a motor vehicle – these medications often come with such warning.

Criminal Charges

Nevada is one of the few states to have legal limits on nearly every street drug. Even if a person is below the limit, being involved in a car collision with trace amounts of substance in his or her system may be enough to show negligence.

If you’re hit by another driver who has drugs in their system, he or she may face serious criminal charges for this behavior. Make sure to seek out legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas I The penalties are even more severe if anyone is seriously hurt in such a collision. A high driver that causes a collision that results in serious bodily harm may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. There’s even a statute stating the state prosecutor is not to negotiate a plea bargain to change the charge to a lesser offense, unless there is some question of the driver’s guilt. Prosecutors often will lessen the charge an individual faces for various purposes. Nevada takes drugged driving so seriously that this tactic is off the table for these offenders.

Seeking Damages

While the state may take action against an individual to punish them for drugged driving, the person who was the actual victim of this person’s behavior also has the chance to seek justice with the help of a lawyer. Victims may take drugged drivers to court in order to seek restitution payments for specific damages. This includes:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future wages (i.e. the injury is so severe you cannot return to the same job)
  • Property damages

While there may be some compensation from a criminal court case pursued by the state, it’s likely not to be enough. This is because the state is not representing you – it is representing the safety of everyone in its jurisdiction. In order to be fairly compensated, it is probably necessary to take your case to court to explain the full extent of the consequences this collision had on you and your loved ones.

While the criminal proceedings aren’t likely to directly benefit you very much, it may help you in your own civil case against the high driver. If the police test the driver at the time of the collision, you may be able to use these results in your own case. The police also speak to witnesses and investigate the scene of the crime. You may wish to call the responding officers and the toxicologist as witnesses in your case.

Seek Legal Help

While there is a route through the legal system to seek justice for your injuries, it’s a very complicated process. Seeking assistance from a trustworthy, experienced lawyer can make all the difference when you wish to take someone to court for their actions. Cases against high drivers require a lot of work, not only in court but behind the scenes, gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses. You have to actually prove that someone was under the influence and that their behavior directly led to your injuries, which is harder than you may think. Having someone who understands not only the law, but the system and process can make it easier for you to have a fair day in court.

At Harris & Harris Injury Lawyers, our lawyers have extensive experience providing compassionate and professional legal advice with aggressive representation. If you have been injured in a car accident, give us a call or contact us online.