Car Accidents Due to Drivers Impaired by Prescription Medication
Some people rely on prescription medication to be able to function. Unfortunately, these drugs could cause dangerous side effects that can lead to impairment. If you have been in a car accident and the driver that hit you was impaired from prescription medication, consider hiring a lawyer to help you seek compensation.
Prescription Medication Side Effects
Common side effects, such as itchy skin or dry mouth, are considered minor. However, there are prescription medication side effects that can pose a significant danger to people on the road.
- If you feel sleepy, you might step on the gas by mistake and drift out of your lane. Falling asleep on the wheel is one of the most common causes of motor accidents at night.
- If you feel dizzy, you will have a hard time navigating traffic, calculating distance, and focusing on the road – increasing the risk of accidents.
- Nausea and vomiting. It can be difficult to concentrate if you feel nauseous or are about to vomit while driving.
- Blurred vision. If your vision is blurry, there is a possibility that you misread traffic signs, fail to notice pedestrians crossing, or overlook other vehicles around you.
- Slow reaction times. Some medications may result in slower reaction times, which could result in drivers failing to respond fast enough to prevent an accident.
- Impaired cognitive function. Prescription medication can also cause impaired cognitive function and leave drivers struggling to remember how to follow traffic rules or maneuver a vehicle.
Michigan Law on Driving While on Prescription Medication
According to Michigan law, drivers are criminally liable if they cause an accident while driving under the influence – even if the impairment is from prescription medications.
Many doctors recommend that patients who are taking a new prescription wait at least 48 hours before getting behind the wheel to assess if there are any negative side effects.
Different medications affect different people in different ways, making it impossible to define a legal limit for driving. Michigan law focuses on the effects instead. No matter how much medication you take, if you are unable to drive safely because of the prescription medications that you took, you could face criminal and civil liability if the impairment causes an accident.
Claiming Compensation From a Driver Who is Under the Influence
A person who drives under the influence of prescription medications may face Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges. After a car accident, your testimony can help determine whether the other driver appeared distracted, was swerving, or ignoring traffic rules. Ultimately, the decision to press charges lies on law enforcement and the state attorney.
How does Prescription Medication Impact a Car Accident Injury Claim?
The law holds the impaired driver legally responsible regardless of whether the drug is legal or illegal. Some of the factors that may impact a car accident injury claim are:
- The severity of your injuries
- How long it takes you to recover
- The amount of your medical expenses from the accident
- Your age, state of health, employment, and income at the time of the crash
- The amount of pain and suffering caused by the accident to you and your family
- The damage to your vehicle and other personal possessions
Determining Fault in an Accident
Prescription medications can add to the complication of determining who is at fault in a car accident, but it does not automatically indicate fault. If you were driving recklessly or ignored traffic laws, you would still bear partial responsibility for the accident even if the other driver was on prescription medication.
Michigan is a No-Fault State
Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state. Therefore, the impairment of the other driver will have no bearing on the benefits you are entitled to receive from your personal-injury-protection (PIP) insurance.
If your injuries are severe, your lawyer may take legal action against the impaired driver and negotiate with their liability insurance carrier.
How a Michigan Lawyer Can help DUI Victims
Insurance companies may insist that the accident was your fault or that the other party was able to drive safely, even while on medication. If they succeed, this could significantly reduce the compensation for your injuries. An experienced lawyer can help argue – and prove – the fault of the other driver in an accident so you can get the amount that you deserve.
Prescription medications can complicate the investigation. If you have a lawyer, they can fast-track the process to make sure you get the funds in time to pay your medical bills.
When an insurance company asks you to answer questions about the accident, you are not legally required to communicate with them. Let your lawyer speak for you to avoid any misunderstandings.
Some insurance companies will try to low-ball you, hoping that you agree to a lower but quicker settlement. An attorney can protect you from accepting inadequate offers.
Get a Michigan Lawyer to Help Secure Compensation for Your Injuries
If you or someone you know has suffered a severe injury in an accident involving a driver under the influence of prescription medications, call The Clark Office. Dial 517-347-6900 to set an appointment with our Lansing auto accident lawyers. Rest assured, we can help you get fair compensation – at no cost until we win your case.