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What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident Related to Marijuana Use

Posted in Blog on August 31, 2018

With the use of recreational and medical marijuana being legal in the state of Colorado, it is possible to be involved in an accident while you or someone else is under the influence.

Since 2013, there has been an increase in auto accidents that occur with drivers who have marijuana in their system. Due to this, CODOT has been working with the marijuana industry to tighten laws, gain insight, and prevent future fatalities and injuries.

The Law

  1. As stated by CODOT, Colorado law specifies that drivers with five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their whole blood can be prosecuted for a DUI. However, no matter the level of THC, law enforcement officers can arrest individuals based on any observed impairment.
  2. Even if a person has a medical card, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
  3. Additional charges, on top of a DUI, for impaired drivers include child abuse if children are present in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
  4. Due to the open container law, it is illegal to have marijuana on a public roadway; however, it is legal to have a sealed, unopened container of marijuana in the vehicle

Reactions to Marijuana that Impact Driving

The amount of marijuana needed to impair an individual varies; however, these are the common side effects:

  1. Slowed reaction time
  2. Impaired perception of time
  3. An impaired judgment of distance
  4. Diminished coordination
  5. Drowsiness

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident where a driver was under the influence of marijuana, calling the police is the first step. The police are trained in impairment detection and will investigate all persons involved.

Individuals who have been accused of marijuana use during the time of a car accident are able to refuse drug testing. However, doing so revokes all driving privileges from the accused, and they will be fined.

The second step is to submit a claim. Collision claims are the most common type of claim submitted to insurance companies in the United States. Depending on your coverage, this will help with any physical damage caused to a vehicle in a collision with an object or other vehicles.

More research is needed on the effects of legal marijuana and how it impacts driving; however, Colorado has taken the issue at hand very seriously. It illegal to be under the influence of any substance while on a roadway, and your safety is the State’s top concern.

Regardless of marijuana legality in Colorado, any person in Colorado who is seriously injured in a car accident as a result of a driver that is under the influence of has a right to compensation. Personal injuries and property damage should be covered by the driver who is at fault for the accident. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.

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