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Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorneys > Blog > Motor Vehicle Accident > When Prescription Drugs Cause Auto Accidents

When Prescription Drugs Cause Auto Accidents

Most often when we talk about driving under the influence we are referring to alcohol or illegal drugs. However, many therapeutic drugs with legitimate medical uses can also create a dangerous situation when used while behind the wheel. The fact that a drug was legally prescribed does not necessarily mean that its use is not evidence of driver negligence in a civil lawsuit.

According to statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 18 percent of fatally injured drivers test positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The Food and Drug Administration has identified several types of prescription drugs that, even when used as directed, can impair a user’s ability to drive safely:

  • Anxiety medications
  • Certain types of antidepressants
  • Codeine
  • Certain allergy medications
  • Tranquilizers
  • Sleeping pills
  • Narcotic pain relievers
  • Stimulants

In some cases, drivers may intentionally abuse these drugs even though they were properly prescribed. In other cases, they may fail to adhere to warnings given by their physicians or indicated on the drug’s label. In a small number of cases, the prescribing physician or label may fail to adequately advise the patient of the precautions he or she should take while using the medication. Whatever the case may be, auto accidents involving legal prescription drugs often would not have occurred but for the negligence of one of the above parties.

Once it has been revealed that an involved driver may have been under the influence of a prescription drug, Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys can determine the extent to which those drugs contributed by thoroughly examining the circumstances of the accident and consulting qualified medical experts.

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