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Can I Pursue Compensation for an Accident Caused by a Drugged Driver?

Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Jun 25, 2021  in Car Accidents News

Judge's gavel with car keysThe recreational use of marijuana is now legal in 14 states in the U.S., including New Jersey. While more states are legalizing the drug for both medical and recreational use, it is still illegal to use this drug while operating a motor vehicle.

If you were involved in an accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana, or any other legal or illegal drug, you may be able to pursue compensation for your damages.

Proving liability for a drugged driving accident may be complicated, so it is important to have someone with knowledge of the law on your side. Call a New Jersey car accident lawyer today to learn about your legal options and get help taking on the insurance company.

The consultation is free, and there are no fees while we work on your claim.

Identifying a Drugged Driver

If you are involved in an accident and you believe the other driver is under the influence of drugs, you should dial 9-1-1 as soon as possible. That way a police officer can come to the scene to determine if the other driver was impaired at the time of the accident, either through a field sobriety test or other means.

By driving in New Jersey you are giving implied consent to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine to police for testing to determine whether you are under the influence of alcohol. However, implied consent does not require chemical testing to determine whether a driver is under the influence of drugs.

Fortunately, law enforcement officers are trained to detect whether an individual is likely under the influence of drugs without chemical testing.

If a driver refuses to submit to any evaluation or test by the responding officer, the police officer generally makes a note of it in the police report, which can then be used to support your claim.

Witnesses to the accident, or the other driver’s erratic driving before the crash, may also help establish that the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If possible, take pictures of the other driver’s car, as there may be drugs or drug paraphernalia that may indicate drug intoxication.

An arrest for driving under the influence of drugs should go a long way in validating your claim. However, do not be surprised if the insurance company still tries to challenge the validity of your claim.

Can the Insurance Company Deny Liability?

Remember, New Jersey is a no-fault state, so when you file a claim for your injuries, you are initially doing so through your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Due to the nature of the no-fault policy, your insurer should not deny your claim. If your damages exceed the amount of your PIP coverage, you may be able to file a third-party claim if the at-fault driver has liability insurance.

Insurance companies may try to deny liability coverage for drivers who engage in illegal or intentional acts. If the person does not have any pursuable assets, recovering compensation may not be possible. 

Fortunately, our experienced attorneys are prepared for this and can determine if this fine print may apply to your situation.  

Can I File a Lawsuit?

If the insurance company continues to deny liability or is refusing to negotiate a settlement, you may be able to file a lawsuit. However, the type of insurance you purchased affects the filing of a lawsuit.

In New Jersey, drivers have the choice between standard and basic insurance policies. Under the standard policy, a driver may choose an unlimited or limited right to sue. Under the limited right to sue policy, you may not file a lawsuit for pain and suffering except in certain circumstances. However, you may still be able to file a lawsuit for economic damages, like medical bills not covered by your PIP insurance.

It may be in your best interest to speak with a licensed attorney who understands the law and your right to pursue compensation after suffering an injury due to a drugged driver’s negligence.

Penalties for Drugged Driving in New Jersey

For drivers who are found guilty of driving while intoxicated, whether by drugs or alcohol, there are different penalties depending on the frequency of the offense.

First Offense

  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • $250 to $400 fine
  • Attend 12 to 48 hours of an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Program
  • License revocation for three months

Second Offense

  • 48 hours to 90 days in jail
  • $500 to $1,000 fines
  • Complete an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Program
  • License revocation for two years
  • 30 days of community service

Third Offense

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • $1,000 fine
  • Complete an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Program
  • License revocation for 10 years
  • Up to 90 days of community service that counts toward jail term

Let Us Help You. Call Today

Proving a drugged driver caused your accident may be difficult, as you will likely be taking on an insurance company that is denying liability. Finding an attorney to represent you is an important step during this challenging time.  

The attorneys at Lynch Law Firm have over 25 years of experience helping injury victims in New Jersey recover millions in compensation.

We offer a free consultation to discuss your legal options with no obligation to hire us. If you choose to let us represent you, we do not charge you anything while we work on your case, so there is no risk to you.  

Call us today at (800) 518-0508

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