Intoxication and driving have never mixed. While driving under the influence of alcohol has long been a focus of law enforcement in Colorado, recent changes to state law have now pushed driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs to the forefront.
Drugged driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol; in cases involving prescription drugs the risks could be much higher. The increased popularity of rideshare apps in Colorado has compounded this issue. With more rideshare drivers come more cars on the road, which leads to a higher number of drugged drivers behind the wheel.
If you were injured in a drug-related crash involving an Uber driver, you could have a valid claim for substantial monetary compensation. Do not hesitate to protect your legal rights following a serious injury. Contact accidentdenver.com right away to discuss your options.
Colorado Drugged Driving Statistics
While the science behind testing for a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) has been well-settled for years, determining if a driver is under the influence of a controlled substance is far more difficult. There are a few reasons why tracking the rate of drugged drivers is challenging, beginning with the wide array of controlled substances in the first place. All of these substances impact the body differently. Some are highly intoxicated while others have little effect. What's more, some substances are only detectable in the human body within a few hours of consuming them. Others can be tracked weeks later.
Despite these challenges, there is clear statistical evidence from the Colorado Department of Transportation that shows the use of marijuana and other drugs is on the rise with Colorado drivers. No statistic drives this fact home more than the correlation between fatal accidents and drug use. Over the past decade, traffic fatalities have fallen. Although they remain above the recent low year of 2010, traffic fatalities have remained below the much higher rates of the previous decade.
The same is not true for traffic fatalities involving drugged drivers. From 2005 to 2015, the number of fatal accidents involving drugged drivers nearly doubled from 94 to 160 per year. The same data shows a dramatic increase of drivers testing positive for marijuana specifically.
Nationally, incidents of drivers involved in vehicle collisions testing positive for marijuana has become more common in recent years. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 12.6 percent of evening drivers tested positive for THC from 2013 to 2014. This was a major increase from the 8.6 percent testing positive in 2007.
Not every drugged-driving accident is fatal. For those that survive the crash, the injuries that follow can be devastating. When these accidents involve a drugged Uber driver, the injury party could have a claim against both the driver and the rideshare company's insurance policy.
When a Drugged Driver Strikes your Uber
One way that a drugged driver can lead to a serious injury is by colliding with your Uber driver during the course of your trip. Both you and the driver could be at risk for substantial injury depending on the severity of the crash. The good news is that you may have more than one avenue for pursuing monetary compensation for your injuries.
Typically, the best option for a passenger injured during an Uber ride is to file a claim with the rideshare company's insurance policy. The coverage provided to passengers by Uber is robust, with liability coverage capped at $1 million. This high level of maximum coverage is good news given the steep cost of medical care after an accident.
You can seek a claim with the other driver's insurance policy as well. That said, individual liability policies typically have much lower limits and might not cover the full cost of your damages. When that occurs, you can also file a claim with Uber's policy to supplement your losses that go above the limits of the other driver's policy. What's more, Uber also provides up to $1 million in uninsured motorist coverage. If the drugged driver that caused the crash was not insured at the time of the accident, Uber's policy can cover your losses.
The aftermath from an Uber crash can be chaotic. The combination of injured drivers and a potential criminal investigation can lead to misunderstandings, so it is important that you notify the police of your rideshare passenger status. Ensuring the police report reflects you were a rideshare passenger at the time of the crash can protect your claim in the future.
Injury Accidents Involving Drugged Uber Drivers
Unfortunately, some drugged driving accidents are the fault of the Uber driver. If your vehicle is struck by an Uber driver under the influence of a controlled substance, you could have a claim against the rideshare company's policy. However, the amount of coverage available to you depends on the driver's circumstances.
There are three tiers of coverage under Uber's policy. These tiers depend on whether or not the driver had a passenger or was actively looking for one. If a drugged Uber driver collides with you while carrying a passenger, you could be entitled to a claim for up to $1 million in liability coverage. However, if the driver was using the Uber app but had not yet picked up a passenger, the amount of coverage provided is far lower.
In the worst-case scenario, an Uber driver that was not actively using their app at the time of the crash will result in no coverage from the rideshare company. While the driver's own policy should cover your losses, their policy limits could be well below the total amount of your damages. If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy, it could provide additional relief.
Let an Uber Accident Injury Attorney Guide You
Taking on the difficult challenge of pursuing an injury claim following a drugged-driving crash is particularly complex when an Uber driver is involved. Get experienced legal guidance by contacting accidentdenver.com online or calling 303-642-8888 to schedule your free consultation.