Impaired driving, whether it's alcohol or drugs, is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents, as well as traffic injuries and fatalities. With the advent of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania - the state's first dispensaries are slated to open this year - it is expected that more people than ever will be driving under the influence of a substance. Although medical marijuana is illegal, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in the Keystone state, and a drugged driver may be on the hook for any car accident they cause.
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with any amount of marijuana constituents in a driver's bloodstream. Unlike alcohol, for which there is a recognition of the level at which impairment occurs, no such threshold has been recognized for marijuana. Law enforcement is calling for greater study and a change in laws to accommodate medical marijuana, but until this occurs anyone with marijuana in their system can be charged with a DUI.
Because DUI is illegal, a medical marijuana user who is involved in a car accident may be considered negligent per se. This means that because they committed a legal act - impaired driving - the may be considered automatically at fault for damages or injury they cause. This system helps to protect victims of accidents caused by impaired drivers.
Those injured in an accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of a drug, whether legal medical marijuana or otherwise, may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and property damage they suffered as a result of the crash. Seasoned personal injury attorneys, such as those of Leisawitz Heller, can investigate and evaluate these types of cases. Most importantly, they can ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve.
Source: Fox 43, "Officials say people shouldn't be driving under influence of medical marijuana," Grace Griffaton, Feb. 26, 2018