I was injured in an accident caused by a “stoned” driver. The driver was arrested at the accident scene and taken to jail. What should I do now?
Unfortunately, this is a common question because drugged driving is becoming a bigger problem in the United States. Some critics of legalized marijuana argue that it increases the risk of drugged driving accidents because more people are driving while stoned. As California personal injury attorneys, we are more concerned with ensuring that accident victims receive the legal advice and representation they need to pursue an accident claim against an at-fault driver.
Fault in a Stoned Driving Accident
Stoned driving is a crime. Marijuana may be legal for recreational use in California, but driving under the influence of marijuana is still a crime. Therefore, a driver who is stoned can be arrested. However, being arrested for stoned driving and being at fault for an accident are two separate issues.
California is a fault state. To recover compensation from another driver, you must prove that the driver caused an accident. The driver may have been following too closely and rear-ended your vehicle or failed to yield the right of way and turned in front of you. You must prove that the driver’s actions caused the collision to hold that driver liable for your losses.
This requirement does not change in a stoned driving accident. The fact that the driver was stoned at the time of the collision may be a factor in the case, but it is not sufficient proof that the driver caused the crash. Just as with any other traffic accident, you must analyze the collision to determine the cause of the crash. Then you must find evidence that proves the other driver caused the crash.
Do Insurance Companies Fight Stoned Driving Accidents?
Insurance companies usually view all accident claims the same ways — how can we reduce our liability for the injury claim. If an insurance company thinks it can successfully argue that its driver was not at fault, it will probably do so. However, this does not change what you should do after a car accident. As with any car accident, you need to take steps to protect your right to recover full compensation for your injuries. You should not provide a recorded or written statement to the insurance company nor sign a medical release until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney.
Make sure that you see a doctor and follow up with your doctor as directed. It is important that you do not delay medical care or fail to adhere to a treatment plan. Failing to seek medical care can be used as an argument that you were not injured in the car accident or your failure to seek medical treatment is the reason why your injury is as severe as you claim.
Because the steps you take after a car accident can significantly impact the amount of money you receive for your claim, it is very important that you speak to an attorney as quickly as possible. An experienced car accident attorney can help you avoid mistakes that can hurt your chances of recovering a fair settlement for your injuries.
Call Now for a Free Appointment with a Fresno Car Accident Attorney
Torem & Associates represent clients who have been injured in a stoned driving accident. Call our office at (559) 500-5000 or 1-800-954-4444 or use the contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation with a Fresno car accident attorney to discuss your legal options for filing a claim.