Car Accidents Caused by Marijuana
New York state legalized the recreational use of marijuana on March 31, 2021. Since then, people in the state have been lawfully able to possess small amounts of marijuana and purchase it for recreational use. However, the legalization of marijuana did not make it lawful to drive after smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis products. Motorists in New York can cause serious and deadly injuries if they drive under the influence of marijuana or another drug. According to a recent article from U.S. News & World Report, a new study suggests that states where recreational marijuana is legal have seen a rise in motor vehicle accident deaths. What do you need to know about the study, and how could it impact a car accident lawsuit?
Study Shows Recreational Marijuana Legalization Increases Traffic Deaths
The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and it suggests that states in which recreational marijuana is legal have a higher rate of traffic deaths. According to the IIHS vice president for research and statistical services, “marijuana, like alcohol and just about every other drug, changes how you feel and how you behave . . . and that changes how you drive.”
It is possible, based on the data analyzed in the study, that states with recreational marijuana laws have a nonfatal car accident rate that is 6% higher than states where marijuana is not legal for recreational purposes. Fatal car accidents appear to have risen by about 4% in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational adult use.
How to Seek Compensation After a Car Accident Caused by a Drugged Driver
Were you recently injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by a drugged driver? It is important to understand your options for seeking financial compensation. In New York, anyone who is injured in a collision—even if the other driver’s fault is clear—must typically file a first-party insurance claim through their personal injury protection (PIP) or “no fault” coverage. Since New York is a “no fault” state for auto insurance accident purposes, you cannot immediately sue a drugged driver for causing injuries. Rather, you will usually go through the insurance claims process first.
If your injuries are severe enough that your PIP coverage is insufficient to compensate you for your losses, you could be eligible to file a lawsuit against the drugged driver. Under New York law, anyone who has been injured in a car crash and wants to file a lawsuit will need to meet the “serious injury threshold.” This means that you must prove your injuries are severe enough to warrant a civil lawsuit against the driver who was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash. The statute provides examples of the types of injuries that can meet the serious injury threshold. One of our New York car accident lawyers can evaluate your case and determine the evidence you will need to prove that you meet the serious injury threshold in order to file a lawsuit.
Contact a New York Auto Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love got hurt in a traffic collision caused by a drugged driver, it is important to find out more about seeking financial compensation. One of our New York auto accident lawyers can speak with you today about filing a claim against the drugged motorist. Contact Leitner Varughese, PLLCfor more information about how we can assist you with your insurance claim and a subsequent lawsuit against the at-fault driver.