On November 8th, 2016, Nevada voters approved Ballot Question 2, the state’s recreational marijuana decriminalization initiative. Once this law goes into effect in 2018, residents of the state will be able to legally possess and use small amounts of marijuana. Following the vote, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson publicly announced that his office would immediately stop prosecuting any charges for marijuana that are less than an ounce.
Though the state and local laws regarding marijuana use are rapidly changing, one thing remains clear: It is never safe to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Unfortunately, far too often drivers do get behind the wheel while intoxicated. At this moment, this is especially concerning, because evidence shows that marijuana DUI accidents increased after legalization in other states. For example, after Washington state legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012, researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that deadly marijuana-related accidents doubled in that state.
At Ladah Law Firm, we fight for the legal rights and financial interests of those who have been injured in marijuana DUI accidents. These types of claim are especially complex, as drugged driving can be more difficult to prove than drunk driving. Victims who were injured in drugged driving accidents should contact an experienced Las Vegas auto accidents attorney immediately.
All drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. This obligation requires drivers to operate their automobiles with an adequate level of skill, with due care and with full attention on the road. When a driver is under the influence of marijuana, they will simply not be capable of fulfilling their duties to drive safely. Marijuana can have many different types of effects on its users, and all of them make driving more dangerous. Specifically, marijuana intoxication will:
Further, marijuana impacts people to varying degrees and in very different ways. In some cases, the user will get high almost instantly, whereas in other cases, the effects of the drug may be delayed for a considerable period of time, even more than an hour. Those who have smoked marijuana or have ingested THC through an edible substance must ensure that the drug is completely out of their system before they get behind the wheel of a car.
As marijuana intoxication will dramatically decrease a driver’s ability to operate their car safely, high drivers are involved in many different types of accidents. Some of the most common examples of marijuana-related accidents that we see in Las Vegas include:
Proving liability for Marijuana DUI accident is often more challenging than is proving liability for a drunk driving accident claim. The primary reason for this is that there is currently no test for marijuana use that is equivalent to a breathalyzer test. Indeed, as marijuana’s effects on users vary considerably, police officers often have a far more difficult time determining if a person is actually high. Without a reliable breath-related test to use, responding police officers will typically assess marijuana use by considering a variety of different factors, including the vehicle’s smell, the presence of the substance, the driver’s eyes and the driver’s ability to complete a roadside sobriety test.
For victims of drugged driving accidents, the fact that intoxication can be difficult to prove makes it all the more important to hire a qualified attorney immediately. Your marijuana DUI accident lawyer will be able to spring into action, conducting an immediate and thorough investigation of your crash. To recover compensation, you will need to be able to prove that the driver caused your accident (at least partially) through their negligent actions or inactions. Driving while under the influence of marijuana is automatically considered negligence, though there are other ways to prove negligence as well, without actually proving intoxication.
In Nevada, injured victims are entitled to recover full compensation from the negligent party. If you can prove that a high driver caused your accident, then you are owed full and fair compensation from that driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, far too frequently, the big insurance companies try to undervalue a victim’s damages. Victims with serious injuries should always work with a qualified car accident attorney who can help them properly document their losses so that they can hold the insurance company accountable. Depending on the specific facts of your claims, our DUI accident lawyers may be able to help you obtain financial compensation for:
Additionally, under, NRS 42.010, marijuana DUI accident victims may be able to recover punitive damages. Unlike all other types of damages, punitive damages are not meant to be compensatory in nature. That means that these damages are not tied directly to any of the victim’s losses. Instead, punitive damages are meant to punish the grossly negligent conduct of the defendant. Still, any compensation for punitive purposes will be awarded to the victim.
At Ladah Law Firm, our Las Vegas auto accident attorneys have helped many victims recover full and fair compensation for their damages. If you or a loved one was injured in a marijuana DUI crash, we can help. To request your free initial legal consultation, please call us at (702) 252-0055 or reach out to our firm directly through our website. We serve victims throughout Clark County, including in Paradise, Henderson, Sunrise Manor, Summerlin and Green Valley.