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Driving While High Car Accidents

In Washington State, it became legal to own marijuana in 2012. Unfortunately, people forget it is still illegal, and always has been, to drive a car, truck, or SUV in Seattle and Kirkland while under the influence of marijuana. While people tend to think of driving under the influence as something being related to alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana (and other drugs) is also not only just as common but just as potentially deadly.

These are some of the qualities that a driver may experience while driving high that makes the driving so dangerous:

  • Drowsy
  • Hallucinating
  • Anxiety
  • Bad judgment
  • Distracted driving
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Concentration
  • Impaired vision
  • Impaired distance estimation
  • Sleepiness

All of these factors can lead to a potentially deadly accident. While driving high, a driver does not have the same motor skills because marijuana impairs them so greatly. Driving while drowsy, anxiety, with reduced concentration, and especially the impaired ability to estimate distance, can all have a profound impact on a driver’s ability.

Washington State Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana Laws

In Washington State, you can be arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana if you have a THC/marijuana level of 5.00 nanograms per millimeter of blood or higher. If a driver is a minor, in this case meaning under the age of 21, and has a .02 BAC of more than 0.00 nanograms per milliters of blood, then that drive is always considered high.

With the exception of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana is the reason for the most arrests and deaths on the road. Studies have shown that marijuana can stay in the human body for up to five hours after use. Thus, even if someone believes that they are fine to drive since several hours have passed since they last used marijuana, may not in fact be in a good place to drive a car. In addition, if someone ingests marijuana the effects can last even longer. And finally, combining alcohol and marijuana is a deadly combination for impaired driving.

Statistically, the amount of driving while high on the road in Washington State is alarmingly high. One study showed that nearly one in five daytime drivers may be under the influence of pot, and it may be even higher at night. Nearly 61% of tested drivers who were killed in car accidents tested positive for alcohol or marijuana and another 44% tested positive for having two or more substances in their system, and the two most common are alcohol and marijuana.

If a driver creates a car accident while under the influence of marijuana, the driver could potentially have two cases against him or her. The first would be a criminal case. In this first case, if convicted, the driver would face criminal charges of driving under the influence of marijuana. Depending on a number of factors, the driver could face something as minor as a fine and community service or the driver could face something as serious as extensive jail time. In this kind of case, the criminal proceeding would be brought by the State of Washington, and a prosecutor for the city or county in which the arrest occurred would be the one bringing the charges.

In the second potential case, the person who was hit by the high driver could bring a civil case against the driver. A civil case and criminal case are different in a couple of different respects. In a criminal case, the person who drove the car can face a criminal charge for his or her actions, such as jail time. In a civil case, the person who drove the car and caused the person’s injuries will have to pay money to the victim. In most cases, what this really means is that the insurance company for the at-fault driver will have to pay money to the victim.

However, it is important to note that these two cases, the civil and the criminal, can run concurrently, meaning both cases can proceed at the same time. The results, however, will be different. In one case, the outcome will be an arrest or criminal charge. In the second case, the outcome will be a money settlement paid by an insurance company. The results or outcome of the first case may affect the outcome of the second case, meaning the criminal conviction of a driver who drives high or under the influence of drugs may affect the outcome of the civil case.

Common Driving While High Car Accident Injuries

Injuries after car accidents stemming from someone driving while high and under the influence of marijuana can be serious, if not life threatening. Some of the more common injuries from these accidents are:

  • Whiplash
  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Concussions
  • Broken bones

Oftentimes these accidents are high-velocity and very severe because the person behind the wheel does not have a sense of how fast they are going or the direction in which they are headed at the time of impact. After suffering injuries in a car accident, it is advisable to seek immediate medical care from a doctor, chiropractor, or medical specialist and not let your injuries worsen.

How The Jackman Law Firm can Help

After you have been in an accident with someone who was driving under the influence of marijuana, you’re probably confused, angry, and upset. You may be dealing with a prosecuting attorney who is pursuing a criminal case against the driver who hit you and taking phone calls from both the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your car insurance company, along with dealing with medical bills from the medical providers you’ve been seeing. The Jackman Law Firm can help you with the following:

  • Obtain money for pain and suffering
  • Obtain money for your medical bills
  • Obtain money for your lost wages
  • Obtain money for out of pocket expenses you’ve incurred

Given the circumstances you are in while you heal, it is simply too much for one person to take on to do it alone. Let the Jackman Law Firm help you when you need it most. While we cannot assist the prosecutor in pursuing their criminal case, we can help you with the civil side of your case, meaning we can attempt to get you the money you deserve under the law for your injuries.

Feel free to call us for a free consultation.

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