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Most people have viewed videos of drunk drivers taking a field sobriety test on the side of a roadway. Individuals often exhibit delayed reactions and a reduced ability to absorb information or respond to requests normally. The responses are similar for persons who engage in drugged driving while using marijuana. The heavy use of marijuana affects normal cognitive functions and impairs coordination, making it dangerous to get behind the wheel.

If you have been injured in an accident by a person using marijuana, you need an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer to help you navigate driving under the influence and personal injury laws. Your attorney protects your rights in a personal injury lawsuit.  

How Does Marijuana Affect Vehicle Operation?

Michigan law enforcement has witnessed a 73% increase in cannabidiol-related car accidents in recent years. Persons under the influence of marijuana display these behaviors while driving:

  • Weaving across lanes
  • Having poor reaction times
  • Exhibiting decreased coordination skills
  • Lacking the ability to judge distances
  • Showing diminished ability to focus

While laws in every state make it clear that driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime, it can be challenging to prove a driver’s level of impairment. Each state defines impairment differently. It is essential to seek the advice of an attorney immediately after an accident. Gathering evidence is one of the most important aspects of a personal injury case, so beginning the process right away is imperative to determining the merits and successfully litigating your claim.

Can You Sue Someone for a Marijuana Use Accident?

Michigan is a no-fault car insurance state. According to the state’s car insurance law, every driver must purchase no-fault auto insurance. You automatically file a claim with your provider when you get into an accident, no matter who is at fault. This means that even though the other driver potentially broke the law by driving while under the influence of marijuana, your first course of action is to seek damages from your own insurance company for your injuries and income loss.

However, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. If your injuries meet the state’s threshold for serious impairment of body function, you can sue the driver for non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering), injury-related expenses that exceed your policy’s limits and income losses that your insurance does not compensate for. A personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you can file a personal injury claim in Michigan.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim arises when one person alleges harm from the negligent actions of another person. In a drugged-driving accident, the driver’s decision to get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence is negligent behavior. A claim is resolved in two ways: an informal settlement or a formal settlement.

Informal Settlement

Most personal injury claims are resolved through informal settlement. The attorneys for both parties present the evidence they have, discuss the facts of the case and negotiate the terms of a fair settlement. Your attorney discusses options with you and draws up a written agreement for payment of damages by the defendant. When the defendant agrees to the terms, it halts further legal actions and settles the claim.

Formal Lawsuit

A formal lawsuit moves forward if informal negotiations fail. Your attorney files a formal complaint with the court, and both sides prepare to have the case heard. A claimant pursues a lawsuit to prove that the other person is legally responsible for the claimant’s injuries and liable for monetary damages to the victim. Personal injury lawsuits are often complicated legal matters that can take months to years to resolve.

What Do You Need To Prove In a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

According to Michigan law, it is illegal to be intoxicated when operating a vehicle. An attorney will work with you to build a case that establishes these four issues in a personal injury case:

  1. Duty: A plaintiff must prove that a defendant owed a duty to them when the accident occurred. In a drugged driving case, a duty could be the need to operate a vehicle safely.
  2. Breach: The plaintiff must show the defendant was in breach of duty. Your attorney must prove a defendant failed to act responsibly. The duty would be that the driver needed to obey traffic laws to drive a vehicle safely.   
  3. Damages: A plaintiff needs to demonstrate damages were incurred to proceed with a case. If you cannot prove injury that meets the state’s threshold, there is no claim.
  4. Injury: A plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of duty is the reason the accident occurred. You must demonstrate that there were no extenuating circumstances outside of the defendant’s actions that caused your injury.

Your lawyer will gather evidence to support these concerns in court. A personal injury attorney builds your case with these elements in mind.

What Are the Steps of a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney builds your case using these basic steps:

Your attorney guides you through lawsuit procedures, develops your case, communicates information to involved parties and protects your legal interests. If a person hits you while under the influence of marijuana, be sure to provide all the facts and information you can to aid your attorney in getting a successful outcome.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer To Handle Your Car Accident Claim?

The Mike Morris Law Firm is the team you need for experienced legal representation. We provide personalized services to our clients and keep our caseloads low, so you receive the time and attention your case deserves.

If you sustain injuries in a car accident in Michigan, we are here to help you build a strong case and protect your rights. Not all law firms are the same. We dedicate our practice to personal injury claims, and we have the knowledge our clients value. Start your free case review today. 

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving

https://www.southbendtribune.com/story/news/2021/06/06/traffic-incidents-rise-marijuana-use-grows-niles-buchanan-other-michigan-towns/7552595002/

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/cis_ofis_ip202_25083_7.pdf

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