Injured In A Car Accident While Under The Influence Of Marijuana – Do You Still Have A Claim?

Unfortunately, many people have experienced the overwhelming feeling of being in a car accident and navigating the fallout from it, whether in the form of damages to property or to oneself or the other drivers or passengers.  But when the driver in the car involved in the accident is under the influence of marijuana, the fallout becomes even more complex.  Rhode Island’s laws and regulations around such incidents are designed to address safety concerns and all parties’ rights. Understanding whether and how you can recover from such an accident requires a clear grasp of these laws and the available resources. 

Legal Implications If Involved In A Car Accident While Under The Influence Of Marijuana 

If you are involved in an accident in Rhode Island while under the influence of marijuana, it is treated as part of the broader category of driving while under the influence (DUI), which includes impairment from drugs. The penalties for DUI vary depending on factors like your blood THC concentration, prior offenses, and whether the accident caused injury or property damage. In Rhode Island, if your THC levels exceed the state’s designated limit, you could face enhanced penalties. The penalties for a DUI conviction vary, primarily based on whether it’s your first offense or a subsequent one and whether the incident led to severe injury or death.

For initial offenses without causing severe injury or death, penalties can range from fines and a suspended license for several months to over a year, community service requirements, and mandatory participation in drug treatment programs. If the DUI results in serious injury or death, the consequences become much more severe, including longer jail sentences, more significant fines, and extended periods of license suspension. 

Fault Determination and Compensation

Rhode Island is an “at-fault” state regarding car accidents, meaning the party responsible for the crash is liable for the damages. The state operates under a pure comparative negligence law, allowing for compensation even if a party is partially at fault, adjusted according to their degree of fault. For example, if found to be 15% at fault in an accident, you could still recover 85% of the awarded damages. 

As a result, if you are implicated in an accident while under the influence of marijuana, the process of claiming damages becomes complicated. Your impairment could influence the determination of fault and, consequently, the amount of compensation you can claim. Additionally, a DUI conviction may have further legal and financial consequences that extend beyond immediate penalties, affecting personal injury claims related to the accident. 

Insurance Implications

Being involved in a car accident while under the influence of marijuana in Rhode Island can also have insurance implications. In Rhode Island, if you are found to be driving under the influence of marijuana, your insurance company may deny coverage for damages related to the accident. This denial can extend to property damage, medical expenses, and liability claims. Even if your insurance company provides coverage, they might increase your premiums significantly due to the increased risk of driving under the influence. If you’re deemed at fault for the accident, the other party involved can file a claim against your insurance policy to cover their damages. However, if you were under the influence, your insurance company may still attempt to limit their liability or deny the claim outright.

Potential Defenses

If you were under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident, your legal options might be limited. However, it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who can assess the specifics of your case and determine potential defenses. Some potential defenses could include challenging the validity of the THC test results, disputing the officer’s observations or the circumstances of the stop, or arguing that the accident was not caused by impairment but by other factors.

Contact a Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney

In summary, being involved in a car accident while under the influence of marijuana in Rhode Island can have serious legal and financial consequences. It is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney knowledgeable in personal injury and Rhode Island automobile accident laws for guidance specific to your case. Palumbo Law will help you to navigate the legal system effectively and understand the impact of your impairment at the accident time on your ability to recover damages.

The content of this blog is intended to be general information and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with a qualified lawyer regarding your specific situation.