Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
In June 2016, House Bill 523 gave patients with certain medical conditions in Ohio the right to use marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
While this was exciting news for many sick Ohioans, it also came with a lot of confusion and fear about more marijuana-related DUIs/OVIs and car accidents.
While a prescription for medical marijuana can help treat some illnesses, it is not a free pass to use cannabis without consequence. For instance, people who drive while impaired by marijuana still face criminal charges and serious civil liability, even with a doctor’s recommendation
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident because the other driver was under the influence of marijuana, you need an Ohio car accident lawyer. At KNR, we have a lot of experience helping the victims of impaired driving accidents recover everything they need and deserve.
Driving Under the Influence of Medical Marijuana in Ohio
It’s common knowledge that driving while impaired by alcohol and drugs, including marijuana is illegal. However, many do not realize that it is also illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana for medical purposes.
Driving while using medical marijuana still impedes motor coordination, reduces reaction time, diminishes judgment, and can lead to serious repercussions for you and other drivers.
Even though House Bill 523 gave Ohioans with qualifying medical conditions the ability to use medical marijuana, they can be charged with DUI/OVI if they are caught driving carelessly or recklessly, just as if they were irresponsibly using any other prescribed medication.
Penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in Ohio may include jail time, fines, a driver’s license suspension, and mandatory drug treatment. These penalties increase dramatically if there is an injury-causing accident.
Marijuana Car Accidents in Ohio
While alcohol is the most common drug found in people’s systems following a car accident, cannabis is the second. And with legal medical cannabis now available in Ohio, crashes involving drugged drivers are on the rise.
For example, when Colorado, Oregon, and Washington legalized recreational marijuana, they saw a 5.2% increase in police-reported crashes, compared with states where such sales are illegal, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Impaired Drivers are Still Liable
If a driver hits another vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, they still face civil liability as well as criminal charges.
Ohio may handle the criminal charges, but the state does not help victims cover compensation for losses and damages. Financial compensation for a drugged driver’s actions must be obtained from the insurance company of the driver at fault or through a personal injury lawsuit.
Why Consult a Personal injury Lawyer?
Holding a negligent driver accountable who injured you or a loved one because they were under the influence of marijuana is easier said than done.
Insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits in Ohio can be extremely complex. An experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process and help recover damages so you can pay for medical bills, lost earnings, and property damage.
In the event that your insurance claim is wrongly denied or you cannot reach a suitable settlement, a skilled attorney will also represent your interests in court. While not always necessary if the other driver was impaired, through a lawsuit, injury victims can pursue compensatory damages, and sometimes, even punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are intended to cover vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the individual for their negligent and irresponsible behavior.
Contact KNR Today
Medical marijuana may help a lot of people in Ohio, but if someone causes you harm because they were impaired and got behind the wheel, they should be held responsible. KNR can help.
If you’ve been injured by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana or lost a loved one, it’s imperative to contact the Ohio personal injury attorneys at KNR immediately. We can investigate your case, guide you through the claims process, and help recover all the compensation that you deserve.
Call 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule a free and confidential consultation or fill out our online contact form today.