If you were injured in Denver or the greater metropolitan area by a driver who was high at the time of the accident, you likely are wondering what you can do about it. Drivers who are intoxicated by drugs are responsible for the accidents they cause as a result of their intoxication. This is true even when the drug that caused the intoxication is legal.
With the legalization of Marijuana in Colorado, this issue has become more prevalent and has caused a lot of questions for Colorado residents. Just because it may be legal to smoke or otherwise use marijuana, does not mean that it is legal or permissible to drive while under the plant's intoxicating effects.
High on Marijuana While Driving
When another driver is high due to using marijuana and makes the choice to drive, any injuries caused by that choice and that negligence are subject to compensation. Although marijuana usage is no longer illegal, driving while under its influence still is.
Any driver with five or more nanograms of THC metabolites in their blood is considered "impaired" under Colorado law. Officers can determine this with a blood test following an accident where they suspect marijuana usage is the cause of the accident. Officers also undergo training to look for signs of intoxicated drivers and can perform field sobriety tests in order to help determine whether a person was high at the time they were driving.
Other types of drugs can result in intoxicated driving, including:
- illegal narcotics (i.e. cocaine, heroin, LSD, meth)
- prescription medications (whether prescribed legally or illegally obtained by driver)
- over-the-counter medications
Even in situations where the "drug" itself is legal and the person has a right to take it, driving while intoxicated is illegal. Importantly to you, another driver who is under the influence of any kind of drug while behind the wheel is legally liable for any injuries caused as a result of that intoxication.
Do not be confused by the use of legal medications that cause intoxication. Even a legal drug taken by a person that impairs their ability to drive will result in liability on their part.
The Other Driver Was Found Not Guilty of DUI. Does This Mean I Get Nothing?
A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is a criminal matter, not a civil matter. Just because a person is found "not guilty" of the criminal offense of DUI does not mean that they are off the hook for the injuries they caused you. This is incredibly important because you have the right to financial compensation even when the other party is found not guilty of a crime.
Different standards of proof apply in criminal cases that are much higher than civil cases. Because of this, even when a person is found not guilty of DUI, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit and prove the other driver's intoxication was the cause of the accident and your injuries. You still deserve to get paid for your injuries.
Consult an Experienced Denver Auto Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in any sort of motor vehicle accident in the greater Denver metropolitan area, please do not hesitate to contact us today at 303-642-8888 for a free consultation. We are here waiting for you.