Driving under the influence of alcohol or street drugs is a clear violation of the law in any state, and it’s not difficult to link it to reckless driving and negligence causing a car accident. However, these are not the only substances that can impair someone’s ability to drive responsibly.
Prescription drugs can have effects as strong as the effects of drinking alcohol or smoking recreational marijuana, and the rate of consumption for these drugs is high across the country.
If you were hit by a driver who was under the influence of prescription drugs and you suffered injuries and/or property damage, the fact that they had consumed prescription drugs can and should be taken into consideration when building your case.
How Can a Driver Be Impaired by Prescription Meds?
While not all prescription meds come with an interdiction to drive or use heavy machinery while taking them, many of them clearly come with these warnings. You can find these warnings on the labels of many types of medicine, from antidepressants and painkillers to antihistamines.
The prospect of a medication that can affect your ability to drive will include this information, and sometimes it can be read on the label of the pill bottle as well. This is sufficient information to make a driver liable when they cause an accident under the influence of such prescription drugs.
The side-effects of medication that can impair a driver include:
- Blurred vision
- Impaired cognitive function
- Slow reaction times
Anyone of these side-effects can lead to an accident, and when they do, you do have a strong case as a victim of such a driver.
Will You Get a Higher Settlement from an Impaired Driver?
The fact that the driver was impaired by prescription drugs or not will not necessarily influence the amount of money you can expect to receive. The settlement amount depends on what your damages are, not on the reason why the other driver is liable. In some states, though, this information can influence the settlement amount: when you are in a state of pure comparative negligence (like Missouri, for example), and you are partially at fault for the accident, the settlement amount will be calculated based on the proportion in which you are both at fault, and this could be established by looking at the reasons for one’s negligence.
Even though a driver facing a DUI will only have to answer for that in the face of the law and criminal court, you can still use testimony and documents from the criminal case to back up your civil lawsuit. You can actually call police officers or experts like toxicologists as witnesses in your civil suit.
Negligence from driving under the influence of prescription meds is not easy to prove, so we strongly recommend seeking the assistance of an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney who can help you build a strong case and protect your legal rights. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 for a FREE case evaluation.