Drugged Driving Accidents

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Seeking Compensation for an Accident in Colorado Involving DUI Drugs

Seeking compensation for a drugged driving accident ultimately isn’t much different from seeking compensation for any other type of collision. If the other driver was at fault (which is almost certainly the case if he or she was high or otherwise impaired), then you are entitled to seek compensation for all of the financial and non-financial losses you suffer as a result of the accident.

Many people have questions about the impact of Colorado’s recreational marijuana law on personal injury and wrongful death claims for auto accidents. While adults over the age of 21 can legally use marijuana in Colorado, they cannot use marijuana and then get behind the wheel. Just as Colorado residents cannot drink and drive, they cannot smoke and drive, either.

Of course, marijuana use isn’t the only concern. There are many other legal and illegal drugs that can have impairing effects as well. No matter what drug is involved, if you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by a drug-impaired driver, our Denver drugged driving accident attorneys can fight to recover the compensation you deserve.

Our Denver Drugged Driving Accident Lawyers Explain How Colorado Police Officers Test for Drug Use

Marijuana is similar to alcohol in that it is legal for adults to use in Colorado but also heavily regulated. State law bans “driving under the influence,” or getting behind the wheel while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.

Police officers in Colorado test drivers for marijuana impairment in two ways: using a blood sample and administering a field impairment examination. The type of the test and the circumstances in which it is administered can have a significant impact on proving that a driver who caused a crash was under the influence at the time of the accident.

Blood tests are used to gauge the level of THC – the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis – in a person’s bloodstream. A driver in Colorado is considered impaired if his or her blood contains five or more nanograms of active THC. A driver who refuses a blood test faces various penalties. A police officer may also opt to search the car for marijuana or other drugs as a result.

The problem is that the human body processes THC more slowly than it does alcohol and individuals may process the drug in different ways. That is why blood tests are just one way to determine impairment.

Field impairment tests are often similar to those that police conduct on drivers suspected of drunk driving. Motorists who are believed to be under the influence of marijuana may be asked to stand on one leg, walk and turn or follow a specific object with his or her eyes to check for involuntary jerking associated with intoxication.

These tests are more controversial and have sparked questions about whether cops can accurately gauge intoxication based on the results. However, many law enforcement officers in Colorado have been specifically trained in detecting impairment and certified by independent third parties.

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How Marijuana Impairs Drivers

Sadly, many people who use marijuana believe that being high does not significantly impair their ability to drive. However, our Denver drugged driving accident lawyers know that the data tells a different story.

The share of fatal car accidents that involve cannabis has more than doubled in the last 20 years, as Colorado and other states have relaxed laws banning the drug. More than 21 percent of fatal accidents now involve cannabis, according to research out of Canada and Washington.

Closer to home, a Denver Post investigation showed that the number of drivers in fatal accidents who tested positive for marijuana skyrocketed by 145 percent in the first three years after the drug was made legal in Colorado. The news outlet said the number is likely even higher because coroners are not required to test people who die in crashes for THC levels.

Here is why: Marijuana impedes motor functions, delays reaction times and impairs judgment. That is a recipe for disaster, both for drivers who get behind the wheel while high and anyone else unfortunate to be on the road at the same time.

At Levine Law, our Denver drugged driving accident lawyers have significant experience helping people injured in crashes prove that negligent drivers were impaired by marijuana or other drugs at the time of the accident.

What if the Other Driver Is (or Isn’t) Charged with DUI Drugs?

If someone called 911 from the scene of your car accident, there is a good chance that the other driver will have been charged with DUI drugs. If this is the case, it will be important for you to understand what this means – and doesn’t mean – for your drugged driving case.

Even if the other driver is convicted of DUI drugs, you will still need to file a civil claim to recover compensation for your losses. Criminal cases and claims for compensation are two entirely separate legal matters. However, you can use the driver’s DUI drug conviction in your civil case, and a conviction can streamline the process of proving your right to damages.

If the other driver wasn’t charged with DUI, you can still file a civil claim—and you should do so. Our attorneys can collect the evidence needed to prove liability without a conviction, and we can use our experience to seek maximum compensation on your behalf.

Speak With a Denver Drugged Driving Accident Lawyer for Free

If you need to speak with a lawyer about filing a claim for a drugged driving accident in Denver, we encourage you to contact us promptly. Call 303-333-8000 or contact us online for a free consultation. 

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