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Is Driving While Sick Negligent?

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

When you are sick, the general rule of thumb is to get lots of rest, take the right medicine, and stay at home to recover and avoid spreading your germs to everyone else. But for a lot of sick people, staying home to get over a cold or the flu is not an option—there’s work and school to attend and errands to run. These people may feel like they have no choice but to hop in the car and do what they need to do while they’re sick.

It may seem like a cold or the flu is not enough to keep a person from driving, but studies have shown that these illnesses can severely affect that person’s physical and mental abilities, including the ability to drive. However, our Denver car accident attorney knows that driving while sick can in fact be dangerous to the sick driver and others on the road, and in the event of an accident, can actually be considered negligent.

How Illnesses Impact Your Driving 

The symptoms of these illnesses include fatigue, chills, aches, headaches, runny noses, and coughing—all of which can sufficiently distract a driver from the road ahead. Drivers who are sick with the cold or flu often suffer from delayed reaction times, and are unable to concentrate fully on the road and the task of driving.

Handling these symptoms from behind the wheel can cause seriously dangerous distracted driving. While it only takes a few seconds to reach for a tissue, blow your nose, or cough, you take your attention off the road for those seconds, putting yourself and others at risk. If you have a headache or a fever, you could be suffering from compromised vision or mental ability, which also leads to distraction.

Other illnesses that could cause distraction or an inability to drive include migraines and infections, especially to the eyes. Migraines can cause debilitating pain and blurry vision, and those who suffer from them often have an inability to concentrate. Eye infections can compromise a person’s ability to see clearly, or could cause them to rub their eyes repeatedly, taking their attention from the road.

Cold and Flu Medications

Cold and flu medications can cause dangerous driving scenarios too. Many of these over-the-counter medications work by making the sick person drowsy enough to suppress their symptoms and get some much-needed rest. However, this drowsiness can also cause delayed reaction times, blurred vision, and erratic behavior behind the wheel. Because these medications are available over-the-counter, it’s easier for people to mix them or overuse them.

Work With A Denver Accident Attorney to Learn Your Options 

If you have been injured by someone who chose to drive while sick, you could be eligible to receive compensation for your expenses and restitution for your pain and suffering. A driver who knows he is sick and gets behind the wheel anyway may be considered negligent. Contact a Denver personal injury attorney at Levine Law today for a free, no-strings consultation.