Talk to an Experienced Drugged Driving Lawyer in MA!
Driving under the influence of drugs poses a serious threat to all road users, much like drunk driving. The consumption of prescription medications or illegal substances impairs an individual’s ability to drive safely, endangering motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. If you have been injured in a drugged driving accident in Massachusetts, contact a Massachusetts drugged driving accident lawyer today to discuss your legal options.
Our experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. can assess the strength of your case, help preserve critical evidence, and obtain fair compensation for your injuries and damages. Do not delay – call today to speak with a lawyer familiar with drugged driving laws in the state who can get your claim off to the best possible start.
What is Drugged Driving?
Drugged driving occurs when someone operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, causing impairment that makes driving unsafe. This is similar to driving after consuming alcohol, both of which pose significant risks to the driver, passengers, and others on the road.
Is drugged driving worse than drunk driving?
Both drugged and drunk driving are crimes that endanger everyone on the road.
Drugs slow reaction time and road corrections, leaving drivers unable to react to rapid road changes, including braking, debris, and weather.
Other drugs make drivers drowsy, putting them in danger of falling asleep. A sleepy motorist can drift into oncoming traffic, fail to cede the right-of-way or crash into pedestrians in a crosswalk or adjacent sidewalk.
Some drugs can even cause hallucinations, delusions, and illogical behavior.
What Are the Most Popular Drugs and How They Are Likely to Affect a Person’s Driving?
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marijuana and opioids are the most commonly used drugs by individuals while driving. Approximately one in five people reported using marijuana while operating a vehicle, and it was found that men are more prone to drugged driving compared to women.
Marijuana can have detrimental effects on a driver’s motor coordination, judgment, concentration, and reaction time. Even a slight impairment in these skills can significantly increase the risk of a car accident. It’s important to note that marijuana is not the only drug that can impact a person’s ability to drive safely.
Let’s take a brief look at some other popular drugs and how they can affect a person’s driving abilities:
Morphine, fentanyl, codeine, oxycodone, and other opiates and opioids are pain relievers that have a similar effect to morphine. When used as prescribed by a doctor for a short period, they are generally safe.
However, they are sometimes misused because, besides relieving pain, they can create a feeling of euphoria. Opioids may lead to confusion, dizziness, and drowsiness.
These medications are used to manage anxiety, panic, and sleep-related issues. They work by calming the brain, which can result in changes in depth perception and cognitive abilities. In the United States, doctors often prescribe a group of sedatives called benzodiazepines. Examples of popular benzodiazepine brands include Xanax, Valium, and Ativan.
This illegal drug provides an initial sense of alertness and energy to its users, but this soon gives way to feelings of paranoia and anger. Individuals who use cocaine frequently become highly sensitive to light and sound.
People use this potent stimulant to experience a rapid boost in confidence and energy. It’s referred to as “speed” or “uppers” and is a type of methamphetamine. However, taking these drugs can lead to side effects like paranoia, hallucinations, and convulsions.
Unfortunately, individuals who use methamphetamine or cocaine while driving often exhibit aggressive and reckless driving behavior.
What Are the Most Common Drugged Driving Accident Injuries?
Regrettably, even with severe punishments in place, there will always be some people who choose to drive while under the influence of drugs. These accidents lead to serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
At the Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C., our Massachusetts drugged driving accident lawyer has extensive experience handling personal injury cases. We have successfully assisted clients in obtaining compensation for a range of injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) result in comas or severe cognitive, emotional, or motor problems for crash victims.
- Crushed and amputated limbs are often caused by arms and legs getting trapped in the wreckage of drugged driving accidents.
- Spinal cord injuries lead to a loss of walking ability and impose significant lifelong expenses.
- Damage to vital organs requires major life changes and causes lasting health issues for victims of drugged driving crashes.
- Back injuries cause chronic, disabling pain, forcing many clients to leave work permanently.
- Fractures and soft tissue injuries cause great discomfort and inconvenience, potentially limiting a client’s mobility permanently.
- Severe lacerations and abrasions result in dangerous blood loss, a high risk of infection, and permanent scars.
What to Do After a Drugged Driving Accident in Massachusetts
Despite feeling hesitant to take action after a drugged driving accident, it’s crucial to understand that your immediate actions can impact both your safety and legal rights. Therefore, following a drugged driving accident, it’s essential to:
Step 1: Call the Police Right Away
Following a drugged driving accident, it’s crucial to call 911 immediately. This ensures that emergency medical help arrives promptly and alerts the police about the accident. The police will conduct an investigation and create a report of their findings, which can be valuable evidence if you choose to take legal action after the crash.
Step 2: Collect Evidence From the Accident Scene
If you can, it’s essential to gather as much evidence as possible from the crash scene. Take photos and videos of your visible injuries, the vehicles involved, their positions on the road, and any skid marks present. Look for any signs that might indicate the other driver was drugged, such as their behavior or drugs in their car.
Furthermore, if there were witnesses at the scene, make sure to obtain their names and phone numbers. These individuals can provide valuable information to you and your personal injury lawyer about what happened during the accident and may offer testimony to support your case.
Step 3: Obtain Information From the Other Drivers Involved
If possible, make an effort to exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident. This includes sharing names, contact details, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers. However, if the other driver is heavily intoxicated or uncooperative, it’s best to let the police handle the information gathering.
The officers can obtain all the necessary details from the other driver, and you or your lawyer can later obtain this information from them.
Step 4: Keep Records and Bills Related to the Accident
To receive the highest possible compensation for your drugged driving accident, you must provide evidence of the expenses and losses you incurred. Keeping receipts, bills, and records related to the accident is crucial. Your lawyer can use these documents to demonstrate the full extent of your damages and losses, supporting your pursuit of maximum compensation.
However, it’s essential to be aware that waiting too long to obtain some documents, like your medical records, can lead to potential loss or difficulty in getting them later on. So, it’s best to gather and preserve these records promptly.
Step 5: Seek Prompt Medical Treatment
Even if you don’t need emergency medical treatment right after the drugged driving accident, it’s crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible. This helps ensure there are no hidden, serious injuries like brain trauma, which may take days to show symptoms. Moreover, seeking prompt medical attention can significantly impact your legal claim.
If you delay treatment, the insurance company might argue that your injuries are not severe or could be due to a different event, such as a pre-existing condition. Thankfully, visiting a doctor after a drugged driving accident allows you to obtain a medical report. This report directly links your injuries to the accident, providing important evidence for your case.
Step 6: Be Cautious About What You Say to Others About the Accident
Even if it’s clear that the accident was caused by a drugged driver, you must be cautious about what you say to others at the scene. It’s crucial to avoid accepting any blame for the accident or making definitive statements without your attorney present.
Such remarks could have negative consequences on your case and may affect the amount of compensation you can receive. It’s best to consult with your personal injury attorney before discussing the accident in detail.
Step 7: Get Legal Advice
Consult with our trusted Massachusetts drugged driving accident lawyer. We can advise you on your rights, help gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
How to Seek Compensation From a Drugged Driver
You have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity. If you wish to seek compensation for a drugged driving accident, you need to prove that the at-fault party’s choice to drive under the influence of drugs was both unreasonable and careless.
You also need to demonstrate that the injuries sustained were a direct and foreseeable consequence of this action. A skilled car accident lawyer is essential to securing the maximum compensation you deserve.
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Drugged Driving Accident Injuries in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, various parties can be held liable for injuries resulting from a drugged driving accident. The liable parties may include:
- Drugged Driver: The driver who was under the influence of drugs and caused the accident can be held personally liable for the injuries and damages they caused. Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal and can lead to civil liability for the harm they cause.
- Vehicle Owner: If the drugged driver was operating a vehicle owned by someone else, the owner of the vehicle may also be held liable under certain circumstances. Massachusetts has laws that allow for the owner of a vehicle to be held responsible for damages caused by the permissive use of their vehicle by someone else.
- Employer: If the drugged driver was operating a vehicle as part of their job, their employer might be held vicariously liable for the accident. This is known as “vicarious liability” or “respondeat superior,” where an employer can be held responsible for the negligent actions of its employees when those actions occur within the scope of employment.
- Establishments That Served Alcohol or Drugs: In some cases, establishments that served alcohol or drugs to the impaired driver may be held liable under Massachusetts’ dram shop laws. These laws hold alcohol-serving establishments responsible for injuries caused by a visibly intoxicated or underage patron to whom they sold alcohol.
- Social Hosts: Although Massachusetts does not have any specific social host liability laws, there may be instances in which a social host who gave drugs to an intoxicated driver is responsible for the harm that driver caused.
- Government Entities: If the accident occurred due to dangerous road conditions or inadequate signage, a government entity responsible for maintaining the roads might be held liable.
What is Massachusetts’ Statute of Limitations for Drugged Driving Accident Claims?
Massachusetts has a statute of limitations of three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim, including for drugged driving accidents. This time limit allows for a clear end date for lawsuits against responsible parties. To protect your rights, speak with a personal injury lawyer promptly, review the incident, determine the maximum time, and file the necessary documents before the deadline expires.
There are three exceptions to the statute of limitations for drugged driving accident injuries:
- If the victim was a minor at the time of the accident, the three-year limit doesn’t start until they turn 18.
- If the victim was mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident, the three-year limit doesn’t start until they regain their mental competence.
- If the at-fault party leaves the state before the injury claim filing, the time spent outside of the state is not included in counting the three-year statute of limitations.
How Can I Prove Negligence in My Drugged Driving Accident Injury Claim in Massachusetts?
Proving negligence in a drugged driving accident injury claim in Massachusetts (or any personal injury claim) generally involves demonstrating the following elements:
- Duty of Care: Show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. In this case, the duty of care refers to the responsibility not to drive under the influence of drugs and to operate a vehicle safely.
- Breach of Duty: Establish that the defendant breached their duty of care. This entails proving that the driver was, in fact, drugged at the time of the collision and that their impairment played a direct role in it.
- Causation: Prove that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident and your resulting injuries. This can involve providing evidence such as police reports, witness testimonies, and expert opinions.
- Damages: Demonstrate the injuries and damages you suffered as a result of the accident. This can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other losses related to the accident.
How do I win my drugged driving injury claim?
To strengthen your negligence claim, consider the following steps:
- Collect Evidence. Gather all relevant evidence, such as photographs of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and any visible injuries. Obtain a copy of the police report, witness statements, and any medical records related to your injuries.
- Obtain Medical Evaluation. Get a thorough medical evaluation from a qualified healthcare professional who can document your injuries and relate them to the accident.
- Preserve Records. Keep track of all medical bills, treatment expenses, lost wages, and any other costs incurred due to the accident.
- Expert Testimony. If necessary, seek testimony from accident reconstruction experts or medical experts who can provide professional opinions regarding the cause of the accident and the extent of your injuries.
- Eyewitness Accounts. Obtain statements from eyewitnesses who saw the accident and can testify about the driver’s behavior or signs of impairment.
- Prove Drug Use. If possible, provide evidence that the driver was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident. This can be through blood or urine tests conducted by law enforcement or other evidence that shows drug impairment.
- Police Reports. Police reports often contain valuable information about the accident, including any observations about the driver’s condition at the scene.
- Consult an Attorney. Consider consulting with our competent drugged driving lawyer in MA. We can guide you through the legal process, build a strong case, and advocate on your behalf to maximize your compensation.
What is My Drugged Driving Accident Injury Claim Worth?
Since every drugged driving accident is unique, there is no fixed amount when determining the value of a drugged driving accident case. Various factors come into play that influence the case’s worth, including:
- The extent of the injuries suffered.
- The type and duration of medical treatments required
- The impact on your ability to work after the accident
- The level of responsibility held by the at-fault party
- The reliability of the evidence presented
- The physical and emotional losses experienced due to the accident
Thankfully, with the guidance of our knowledgeable drugged driving accident attorney, we can identify which of these factors impact your claim. We will build a strong case based on these factors and strive to seek the highest possible compensation you deserve.
Can I Recover Punitive Damages Following My Drugged Driving Accident?
Unlike compensatory damages, which aim to provide compensation for a victim’s losses and injuries after a drugged driving accident, punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer for their extreme actions and deter others from doing the same.
However, in Massachusetts, punitive damages are generally not awarded unless the defendant’s actions involve gross negligence or willful and reckless conduct resulting in another person’s death.
Consequently, the only way for someone to be eligible for punitive damages in a drugged driving accident in Massachusetts is if the family members of the deceased file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
How to Prevent Drugged Driving in MA
Since drugged driving significantly increases the risk of accidents, public health experts advise individuals who use drugs and alcohol to adopt social strategies to avoid driving while impaired. Some actions people can take include:
- Volunteering to be a designated driver for the group
- Assigning a designated driver who will hold all the car keys
- Arranging for a ride to and from events where alcohol or drugs may be present
- Having conversations with friends beforehand about the dangers of drugged driving
Why Do I Need a Drugged Driving Accident Lawyer in Massachusetts?
Seeking compensation after a drugged driving accident can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t have experienced legal representation advocating for you. When you hire our Massachusetts drugged driving accident lawyers at Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. to handle your case, we can:
- Review your accident details, assess if you have a valid legal claim, and explore available legal options.
- Obtain the police records that indicate the level of intoxication of the other driver.
- Conduct a comprehensive investigation of the accident, securing evidence to establish fault and what occurred during the incident.
- Engage experts like accident reconstruction specialists, doctors, and financial experts to support your claim.
- Handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
- Take your case to trial if the other party refuses to provide a fair settlement and pursue maximum compensation for you.
Speak With a Massachusetts Drugged Driving Accident Attorney
Car accidents are one of the most stressful occurrences that someone can experience in his or her life, especially if the outcome includes catastrophic injuries and damages. Our dedicated Massachusetts drugged driving accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. understand exactly what the victim of a sudden and unexpected car accident is going through and strive to provide the compassionate and responsive legal counsel that you deserve.
We serve clients in areas around Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Lowell, Newton, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood, Brookline, and Peabody. Our Massachusetts legal team can also assist you with blind spot car accidents, highway accidents, motorcycle accidents, and teen driver accidents. Call us today or contact us online to get started.