People who choose to drive while impaired by alcohol put themselves and others at risk. Drunk driving can not only result in criminal consequences, but intoxicated drivers may also cause car accidents that result in serious injuries to people in other vehicles or pedestrians. In addition to alcohol, drug use can also cause a driver to become too intoxicated to drive safely. Car accident victims will want to understand whether a driver’s use of alcohol or controlled substances was a significant factor in contributing to a collision, because in addition to all other forms of compensation they are entitled to collect for their injuries, they may also be able to pursue a claim for punitive damages in order to punish the driver for the bad conduct and deter others from similar behavior.
The Dangers of Drug Use for Drivers
The use of controlled substances is widespread in the United States, and a 2018 survey found that 12.6 million people had driven within the past year while under the influence of drugs. These substances may include “hard drugs” such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines, as well as certain types of prescription drugs. While marijuana remains illegal in Wisconsin, it has been legalized for medical and recreational use in some nearby states, including Illinois and Michigan, making it more likely that people in Wisconsin will encounter drivers who have used this drug.
Drugs can significantly impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. The effects a person may experience can vary depending on the type of drug they have used:
Marijuana – Similar to alcohol, this drug can affect a person’s reaction time, balance, and coordination, making it more likely that they will be unable to respond to other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles in time to avoid a collision.
Cocaine and methamphetamines – These drugs can cause a person to behave aggressively and recklessly, leading them to act unsafely while behind the wheel.
Opioids – These substances include illegal drugs such as heroin, as well as prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or codeine. Use of these drugs can lead to drowsiness and impairment of cognitive functions, making it impossible for a driver to safely control their vehicle.
Medications – Some over-the-counter drugs, such as cough or cold medicine, can cause drowsiness, especially when combined with alcohol or other drugs.
Following a car accident, victims will want to work with an attorney to gather evidence showing that another driver acted negligently. Our lawyers can obtain toxicology reports showing whether a driver had drugs or alcohol in their system at the time of the crash, as well as other evidence demonstrating intoxication, such as police reports, recordings of 911 calls, footage from security cameras or traffic cameras, and testimony from witnesses who observed the accident or saw a driver use illegal substances.
Contact Our Green Bay, WI Drugged Driving Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured by a driver who was under the influence of drugs, the attorneys of Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. can provide the legal help you need. We will work to make sure you receive financial compensation that will allow you to recover from the injuries you have suffered. Contact our Appleton car accident lawyers at 920-739-7366 to set up your free consultation today.