If Someone is High on Drugs at the Time of the Accident, Can You Sue?

December 24, 2019

For the last thirty or forty years, drunk driving was one of the biggest evils we had to deal with. People would drink way too much and then get behind the wheel of a car. They had no concern for the damage they could do to themselves or anybody else. They had no appreciation for the risks they were creating. Today, there is a danger even greater than drunk driving. With the opioid epidemic being what it is, there are thousands of people out there who caused a car accident while on drugs. People either take pills or heroin and then decide to drive. There are stories on the news all the time about people who nodded out while behind the wheel. They drive into houses, medians and other cars while they’re literally passed out.

What some people don’t understand is that the DUI laws in South Carolina apply to people who drunk. But they also apply to people who are high when they get behind the wheel. The difference in drunk drivers and drugged drivers may seem like a technicality. The police can do a breathalyzer to test someone for alcohol. But, they don’t have that option when it comes to people using drugs. However, the difference is more fundamental than that.

If you’re been injured in any accident involving a drunk or drugged driver, you need help. Call and talk to an experienced car accident lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina. They can review your case and let you know if you have a valid claim. They can also handle the legal side of things while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Drugged Driving is Different than Drunk Driving

There is a big difference between drunk driving and driving while under the influence of drugs. For the most part, people who drink and drive are already impaired when they leave home or the bar. They’ve been drinking for a while and decide that they’re okay to drive. While some DUI offenders do have open containers in their car, most drunk drivers really think they’re sober enough to drive.

With people who are driving while on drugs, it works differently. Unlike people who drink alcohol, drug addicts tend to take drugs throughout the day. So, when they’re behind the wheel, they could actually be shooting dope or swallowing pills. They could be in the middle of an intersection when the drugs kick in. This can cause them to black out or nod out while their foot is on the gas. They have no idea what is about to happen. And, they have no control over what their car may do.

It’s Harder to Prove Someone Caused a Car Accident While on Drugs

Even for police, it can be a lot harder to prove that someone is driving under the influence of drugs than it is alcohol. Officers can do a breathalyzer right at the accident scene. They can also conduct a field sobriety test that will indicate if the driver is impaired.

For people on drugs, these tests don’t exist. There’s no way to test for drugs on the site. Yes, the officers can request that you take a blood or urine test. But they need a warrant to do that. By the time they take the test, there’s no telling if the drug will still be in their system.

For your car accident lawyer in Columbia, it can be just as hard to prove liability. Even if they’re 99% sure the defendant was high at the time of the crash, it can be impossible to prove. They’ll look at the driver’s past, including such things as:

  • Their criminal history – Do they have convictions for drug offenses?
  • The police report – Did the cops find drugs at the scene?
  • Tests – If the police did conduct blood and urine tests, what were the results?
  • Witness statements
  • The current traffic accident – Did the defendant get charged for DUI or drug possession in this case? Were they convicted?

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Columbia

If you or a loved one have been hurt by someone who caused a car accident while on drugs, call our office. You need to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer in Columbia sooner rather than later. There is evidence that you can use to prove your case. Your accident lawyer will do their best to gather this evidence, including proof that the other driver was arrested for DUI. Call today and talk to someone in our office.