Drugged Driving Car Wrecks in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Drugged Driving Accident Law Firm
Driving while under the influence of a controlled substance is illegal in Colorado, as it is in every other country. However, many drivers are unaware that driving while under the influence of prescription drugs prescribed by a doctor can result in the same penalties as driving while under illegal drugs or alcohol.
According to the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars FLHSMV, more than 1,300 drug-related traffic collisions occurred on Colorado highways in 2017, resulting in 338 deaths. These figures exclude accidents in which a motorist was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol.
In El Paso County, five collisions involving substances other than alcohol resulted in the deaths of seven people and the injuries of seven others. Four collisions in Colorado Springs resulted from a combination of alcohol and other substances, killing four people and injuring one.
Law enforcement officers often struggle to keep track of drivers who are under the influence of prescription medications. Distinguishing between legal and illicit drug usage may be challenging, whether because data is too expensive or difficult to get, because drunk driving requires more concentration, or because driving.
At the same time, impaired rules don’t always discriminate between kinds of substances. Furthermore, some individuals may be abusing prescription medicines by taking them without a legitimate prescription, which is against the law.
Although little research has been done in Colorado or throughout the country to look at the link between prescription medicines and driving, one study from Maryland provides some useful information. In 2011, researchers in Baltimore discovered that more than 60% of drivers involved in traffic accidents were on some kind of prescription medication.
While Baltimore is unlike Colorado Springs and Maryland is unlike Colorado, analysts believe the Maryland trend will likely be repeated in other states. An individual’s chance of using prescription medicine rises as they become older.
As a result, Colorado, which has one of the oldest populations in the country, is expected to have more prescription medicine users on the road than other states. According to research, more than a quarter of drugged drivers involved in fatal accidents are over the age of 50.
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COLORADO HAS A DRUGGED DRIVING LAW.
The majority of people link drunk driving or impaired driving with drinking. While drunk driving is more common in Colorado and around the country, drugged driving is also punishable under Colorado law, even if the driver is using his or her own prescribed medicine. A person found guilty of driving under the influence of legal or illicit substances may face fines and prison time under Colorado law.
Drivers who drive after taking prescription medicines that impair their ability to see, hear, walk, assess time and distance, and more are nonetheless driving a car unlawfully under Colorado law, even if they are under the influence of a valid prescription. A court may declare a drug-impaired driver guilty and liable for civil damages if they cause an accident or death while driving.
IMPAIRED DRIVERS WERE FOUND TO BE USING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.
Not all prescription drugs cause impairment, and those with distinct side effects from person to person. When impaired drivers under the influence of prescription medicine cause a car collision, their bodies may contain a range of chemicals.
When picking up a prescription from the pharmacy, keep in mind that alcohol may increase the effects of many prescription medicines, as stated on the bottle. Even a single drink or glass of wine might produce impairment and result in a car accident. Prescription drugs often detected in the systems of drunk drivers include:
OPIOIDS AND THE RISK OF A CAR ACCIDENT
Natural opiates and synthetic forms of opiates connect to opioid receptors in the brain and release dopamine throughout the body, making opioids a wide family of medications.
Doctors prescribe opioids to treat acute and chronic pain. Because opioids are very addictive, drivers who have them in their systems may be using them legally or illegally. Oxycodone Oxycontin, Percocet, hydrocodone Vicodin, fentanyl, and codeine are the most widely prescribed opioids.
ANTIDEPRESSANTS WHILE DRIVING MAY BE DANGEROUS; THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE IT SAFER.
According to research, over 25 million persons in the United States have taken antidepressants for at least two years. Antidepressants are crucial for managing mental health difficulties, but they may also be dangerous for drivers. People’s bodies must change when they are given a new antidepressant or suddenly cease using one.
Regular antidepressant usage at these periods may result in a car accident. Big pharma medications like Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil and tricyclic antidepressants like doxepin and amoxapine are often given antidepressants.
MEDICATIONS FOR ADHD
These psychotropic medications assist teenagers and adults in reducing the symptoms of ADHD. In reality, research suggests that persons with ADHD who take prescription stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall, and Strattera are less likely to be involved in an car accident than those who don’t. When ADHD medication impacts driving, it is usually because the motorist is misusing the medicine. Despite the dangers, some people take these
stimulants to lose weight. Abusers of ADHD medicine may take it from a kid or another household member or purchase it illegally. When these drugs are used with alcohol, they may induce substantial impairment.
BENZODIAZEPINES CAN CAUSE DROWSY DRIVING
Tranquilizers are the generic name for benzodiazepines. Doctors use benzodiazepines to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, alcohol withdrawal, and other ailments. Popular sleep aids like Ambien and Lunesta and short and long-acting medicines like Xanax and Diazepam are among them. Benzodiazepines’ sedative effect may lead to sleepy driving, particularly when mixed with alcohol.
MARIJUANA AND THE RISK OF A CAR ACCIDENT
Marijuana is the most prevalent substance identified in impaired drivers, but distinguishing between recreational use, which is still illegal in Colorado, and lawful medical usage for pain treatment, cancer, and other diseases may be challenging. Even though medical marijuana is allowed in Colorado, it affects driving and may result in an accident. Furthermore, about half of all drivers who died in car accidents after testing positive for marijuana also had opiates in their system.
WHAT EFFECTS COULD PRESCRIPTION DRUGS HAVE ON DRIVING?
We mentioned certain medicines and their adverse effects in the preceding section, but many more prescription drugs might affect your driving ability. Here are some common pharmaceutical effects that might impair a driver’s ability to drive safely:
- Nausea Sleepiness Dizziness Blurred vision
- Slowed movement Fainting
- Short attention span Inability to concentrate
IS IT OK FOR ME TO DRIVE IF I’M ON PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION?
When using prescription medicine, the majority of individuals may safely drive a motor car. In the end, it comes down to the side effects you’re having and how they’re affecting your ability to drive.
You may not be aware of harmful effects on your driving in certain situations, but in many cases, open communication with your doctor about how a particular prescription affects you will enable you to continue driving safely. Your doctor, for example, may assist you in reducing the detrimental effects of prescription medicines on your driving by doing the following:
Your doctor can help you figure out what dose is right for you. This means you’ll still get the advantages of the drug while driving, but it won’t impair your ability to drive.
ADJUSTING THE TIMING
Taking your medicine at various times of the day might sometimes assist you in avoiding becoming intoxicated while driving. Taking prescription pills soon before bedtime is one example of this.
In most cases, there are many medications available to address a single ailment or condition. If you have unpleasant side effects that affect your driving, your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative medicine that will respond differently to your body.
A LIFESTYLE CHANGE
If you make simple lifestyle changes, you may not need to use drugs to address anxiety, diabetes, insomnia, and other illnesses. Your doctor may assist you in incorporating an exercise or diet regimen into your daily routine to help minimize your drug use.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M INVOLVED IN A PRESCRIPTION DRUG-RELATED ACCIDENT?
Because Colorado is a no-fault insurance state, filing an insurance claim should be your first action after obtaining medical assistance if you were injured in an accident involving prescription medicines. If you own a car in Colorado, you must have medical payments coverage, sometimes known as MedPay.
Regardless of blame, you must contact your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident to submit a claim. Only 80% of your medical expenditures and 60% of your lost income are covered under PIP. If your policy limits have been spent or the accident resulted in serious injuries, Colorado law allows you to seek extra compensation in civil court.
When insurance claims turn into personal injury lawsuits, the issue of guilt becomes crucial. When prescription medications cause a traffic accident, the victim may have to pursue various legal options to collect damages, depending on which motorist was impaired and whose carelessness caused the accident.
Your attorney will advise you on the best course of action based on your unique circumstances. Still, we’ve included several frequent complaints that people bring after a traffic collision involving prescription medication impairment:
CLAIM FOR PRODUCT LIABILITY
You may be able to sue the medication manufacturer—and any party in the drug’s chain of distribution—liable for damages in civil court if prescription pharmaceuticals produced unknown or unanticipated adverse effects that resulted in an accident.
These adverse effects might also be the consequence of a poorly designed medicine, a manufacturing mistake, or the company’s, doctor’s, or pharmacist’s failure to provide you with warnings and information about the risks of driving after taking the prescription.
CLAIM FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
Doctors and their affiliated institutions might be held accountable for damages in a car accident involving prescription drug impairment if they gave a motorist the inappropriate medicine or dose, causing side effects that resulted in a car accident.
Doctors may also give medicine that their patients are allergic to or that causes an undesirable response when mixed with another drug. Pharmacist who fill the erroneous prescription or dose in a Colorado civil court may be held accountable for damages resulting from an car accident involving prescription medicines.
CLAIM FOR NEGLIGENCE IN AN ACCIDENT
When a patient is prescribed the appropriate medication and given all necessary warnings about side effects, or when they are using the drug illegally, and they cause a car accident, the victims’ only recourse is a standard accident injury claim that squarely places blame on the driver for driving while impaired.
Victims may be able to recover additional medical costs and lost wages not covered by a PIP policy, such as future medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, scarring and disfigurement, and any other damages that apply to the case.
GET THE LEGAL HELP YOU NEED FROM A SKILLED AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYER IN COLORADO SPRINGS.
If you were in a car accident caused by a motorist who was under the influence of prescription medicines, you might be able to sue for damages in civil court. Following an car accident involving prescription medicines, Colorado law gives an accident victim two to three years to file a lawsuit, depending on the circumstances.
To find out whether the period applies to your specific scenario, you should contact an expert personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. You and your family are probably going through a tough moment right now. Aside from the physical agony and healing, you may be experiencing mental stress and financial difficulty due to growing medical bills at a time when your injury stops you from working.
For a free consultation and to assess your eligibility for compensation, call Warrior Car Accident Lawyers in Colorado Springs at 719-300-1100 or contact us online.
Our experienced car accident lawyers may be able to assist you in several ways, including conducting an investigation into your case, obtaining relevant documents and records, handling communication and negotiations with insurance companies, and aggressively litigating your case in court if a settlement isn’t possible.
While we cannot guarantee a good outcome in your case, we can assure you that we will try tirelessly to get full compensation for your injuries.
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