Protecting Your Rights After A Drugged Driving Accident In Florida
Just like driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugged driving is against the law in Florida because it severely undermines a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Despite its criminalization, drugged driving continues to happen in Florida. This dangerous trend has devastating consequences for others on the road. Unfortunately, it can also be difficult to prove that an accident was the result of drugged driving, as there is still no on-the-scene test that shows evidence of drug consumption as quickly and easily as a breathalyzer test does for alcohol.
What to Do After a Drugged Driving Accident
While companies continue to work on developing technology that can detect a driver’s use of a controlled substance, there still isn’t a breathalyzer for drug use. Instead, victims will need to rely on other sources of evidence when attempting to prove that a driver’s drug use caused their accident. To put themselves in the best possible position to provide this evidence, accident victims who suspect that their collision was the result of drugged driving should be sure to:
- Get medical attention right away to start the creation of a record linking the accident to a specific injury and to ensure that treatment begins as soon as possible;
- Take photos at the scene of the accident, including damage to the vehicles, traffic signage, skid marks, and any other physical evidence;
- Take note of any odors on the other driver, evidence of bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or wild gestures; and
- Obtain a copy of the police report, which will contain details about things the officers noticed at the scene of the accident, including the other driver’s behavior and appearance.
If the police suspect that a driver was under the influence of drugs at the time of an accident, then they can conduct a sobriety test and based on those results, arrest the at-fault driver and order a blood or urine test. The results from this test often act as definitive proof of a driver’s state of mind when an accident occurred.
Civil lawsuits are different from criminal cases, so just because a person was convicted of the criminal offense of drugged driving, doesn’t mean that he or she will automatically be held liable for the crash. For this to happen, the injured party will need to file a civil suit against the at-fault driver and provide proof to the court of the driver’s recklessness. If successful, a plaintiff could be entitled to damages compensating him or her not only for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, but also for pain and suffering and emotional distress. In many drugged driving cases, courts also award punitive damages to the plaintiff, which are specifically designed to punish the wrongdoer and discourage similar behavior in the future.
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