A drug-impaired driver has disrupted your life. You deserve justice.
It’s never acceptable for someone to drive while impaired. A drugged driver might be willing to throw caution to the wind when it comes to their own health, but they have no right to endanger others.
Billy Johnson believes that negligent drivers should be held accountable for the harm they cause. Personal injury claims offer people the chance to receive payment for the costs associated with their injuries. If you’ve been injured by a drug-impaired driver, you might be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost income and pain and suffering.
Drug-Impaired Driving is a Growing Threat
Drug-impaired driving (or driving under the influence of drugs – DUI) is a growing problem in the U.S. and on Kentucky roads, with increasing numbers of crashes involving injured or deceased victims. Driving under the influence of drugs was associated with more deaths in 2015 than DWI (under the influence of alcohol), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In addition, NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) revealed that in 2015-16, drugs were present in 43 percent of drivers killed in motor-vehicle accidents. This nearly doubled the 22 percent of drug-related driver fatalities in the previous year. In 2016, 35 percent of the tested drivers were under the influence of marijuana.
Drugs such as pot and cocaine are often combined with alcohol to contribute to driver impairment. Drug-impaired driving in Kentucky has attracted increasing attention from law enforcement in recent years. In addition to criminal prosecution, drugged drivers also find themselves as defendants in civil actions filed by their injured victims for the physical, psychological and financial damage they cause these innocent people.
Kentucky’s Revised Statute Section §189A.010 prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle anywhere in the state “while under the influence of any other substance [other than alcohol] or combination of substances [including alcohol] that impair one’s driving ability.”
If you’ve been injured by a drug-impaired driver, the law offices of the Billy Johnson Law Firm in Pikeville, Kentucky, can help you recover all legal damages arising from the accident.
Drugs Impair Drivers’ Abilities
Another 2016 report, this by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, shared the following facts about fatal accidents in which drivers were tested for drugs:
- 18 percent of all fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs.
- About three out of five drugged-driver crashes (57 percent) were single-vehicle accidents.
- Almost half (48 percent) of drivers who tested positive for any drug also tested positive for alcohol.
- Of those who tested positive, illegal narcotics and cannabinoids (marijuana-type substances) accounted for almost half of those positive results.
- Cannabinoids were found in 43 percent of all vehicle accident fatalities in victims under age 24 who tested positive.
- Higher rates of narcotics and depressants were found in fatally injured drivers over age 45.
The report also cited the following recreational drugs as substantial impairments to driving ability:
- Morphine and heroin
- Methamphetamine and amphetamine
- Ecstasy (MDMA)
Driver Impairment Caused by Socially Accepted Drugs
A number of drugs which are legally purchased with or without prescription can also result in drugged drivers causing accidents that kill or maim innocent victims. A short list of the more prominent ones includes:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Anti-anxiety medications such as Valium
- Sleeping pills
How Do I Know Whether the Driver Was Impaired?
There will likely be a police report stating that the driver was impaired – if the impairment was discovered by the police. You can obtain a copy of this report to find out whether the authorities listed impairment as a contributing factor in the crash.
If you hire an attorney, then you won’t be responsible for determining the reason the other driver caused the accident. Your attorney will investigate your case to find out why the crash happened.
The Effect of Drug-Impaired Driving on Victims
When someone drives under the influence, he or she is not only putting their own life at risk, but endangering others. When victims of drugged drivers are seriously injured, they have a right to collect the following damages from the drugged driver (which are typically paid by the driver’s insurance company):
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repair or replacement, in addition to other out-of-pocket costs
- All lost income
- Pain and suffering, both physical and psychological
- Loss of earning capacity or future lost income
- Wrongful death damages paid to surviving family members and the victim’s estate
Punitive damages may also be appropriate if the defendant-driver was found to have acted recklessly or with intent to injure. Many times punitive damages can be awarded in cases when serious, life-altering injury has occurred, or as a deterrent, to prevent the defendant-driver (and others) from driving under the influence again.
“I’ve been injured by a drug-impaired driver. What now?”
Immediately following a crash, you’ll want to call 911 and request a police officer and an ambulance if you are injured. The police will perform tests on the driver to determine impairment. They will file a report that you can then use in your claim. Seek medical treatment for your injuries, and keep copies of all the bills you receive in the days, weeks and months that follow.
If you are contacted by your insurance company, comply with them and answer their questions. However, you don’t have to accept an offer if it is less than you deserve. If you are contacted by another insurance company, you aren’t obligated to speak to them.
If You’re the Victim of a Drug-Impaired Driver, Call a Lawyer Now
Drug-impaired drivers are responsible for injuries to passengers in a vehicle which they hit; and passengers in a vehicle driven by a drug-impaired driver also have a right to expect compensation from that drugged driver of the car in which they were riding.
The Kentucky accident attorneys of the Billy Johnson Law Firm aggressively pursue claims against drug-impaired drivers. We also negotiate with defendant insurance companies – and shield you from their adjusters and lawyers who resist paying your legitimate injury claims.
We are available anytime to discuss all of your legal options to receive fair compensation after being injured by a carelessly drugged driver. Contact our offices in Pikeville, Kentucky, today to speak with a seasoned DUI injury lawyer, or fill out the online form to arrange your free case evaluation.
Impairment Equals Negligence
Driving while impaired is a careless, reckless act. It is the textbook definition of negligence. Whatever damage a drugged driver causes should be paid for in full by that driver or by that driver’s insurance company. If it is known that the driver that caused your injuries was impaired, you should consider your legal options and speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
An impaired driver’s choice to get behind the wheel is one they must live with, and that means paying for the harm they’ve caused other people. While the justice system will determine the punishment given to a drugged driver, you and your attorney will work together to find out how much you should be paid and to make sure the negligent driver is held accountable for those costs.
Kentucky’s Drug Epidemic Has Consequences for All of Us
Unfortunately, Kentucky has experienced a troubling drug epidemic that includes prescription drug abuse, heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamines. This trend has an impact on all Kentuckians. Research indicates that the safety of our roads has been greatly affected by drug use.
In the NHTSA’s FARS report, researchers found that, in 2016, drugs were present in more than 40 percent of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result. That rate was higher than that of alcohol, a statistic that indicates drugged driving has become an even greater problem than drunk driving.
Put Us to Work for You
If you need legal assistance, call Billy Johnson to schedule a free consultation. We make sure our clients get treated fairly. We go the extra mile to get them the compensation they deserve. We will handle all correspondence with other driver’s insurance companies and lawyers. We’ll also take care of all the other processes involved in your claim, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
We understand how important compensation is for our clients, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. If we don’t win your case, you pay us nothing. Let us put our experience and resources to work on your behalf. Contact Billy Johnson today to speak to an attorney who knows how to get results for his clients.