Drugged Driving Accidents: Filing a Claim When the Driver Who Hit You Was High

April 23, 2024

Drugged driving is a significant concern in Pennsylvania. According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, more than 10 percent of all adults in the United States self-report using illicit drugs; and, with medicinal marijuana now legal in the Commonwealth, Drexel University reports that nearly five percent of the state’s population are medical marijuana patients.

Regardless of whether a drug is legal or illegal to use, driving under the influence is prohibited. Pennsylvania’s DUI law makes this clear, as it criminalizes driving any vehicle under the influence of any controlled substance. The reason for this is simple: Drugged driving is dangerous, and far too often, innocent drivers and passengers pay the price for drugged drivers’ mistakes.

Collecting Evidence of Liability After a Drugged Driving Accident in Pennsylvania

Fundamentally, filing a claim after a drugged driving accident in Pennsylvania is no different from filing a claim after any other type of motor vehicle accident. You still need to prioritize your medical care, and it is still important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will work quickly to gather all available evidence of liability—including evidence that the driver who hit you was drug-impaired behind the wheel. Depending on the circumstances, this may include evidence such as:

  • The police report from the accident (which may include the responding officer’s observation that the other driver appeared to be high or the driver’s admission to driving under the influence)
  • The other driver’s medical marijuana card and receipts for recent purchases
  • Social media posts from before (or after) the accident showing the other driver partying or using drugs
  • The driver’s toxicology report if he or she was tested after the accident (drivers are required to submit to testing in cases involving suspected DUI)
  • Testimony from witnesses who were with the driver before the crash or who observed the driver’s behavior during or after the collision

This is in addition to all of the other forms of evidence that may be able to prove that the accident was the other driver’s fault—even if they don’t necessarily prove that he or she was high. Traffic camera footage, forensic evidence from the crash site, inspection reports for each vehicle involved in the crash, and various other forms of evidence can all be used to prove that the driver who hit you is legally responsible for your injuries and costs.

Filing a Claim for a Drugged Driving Accident in Pennsylvania

After collecting evidence of liability, your lawyer will work with you to begin the process of asserting your legal rights and seeking just compensation for the accident. Depending on the circumstances at hand, this may involve filing one or more of the following types of claims:

  • A Claim Under the Drugged Driver’s Auto Insurance Policy – If the drugged driver who hit you has auto insurance (as required by Pennsylvania law), you should be able to file a claim under his or her insurance policy.
  • A Claim Under Your Auto Insurance Policy – If you have personal injury protection (PIP) or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance, or both, you can also use your coverage to help cover your costs resulting from the crash.
  • A Claim Against the Drugged Driver’s Employer or Another Third Party – If the drugged driver was working at the time of the crash, his or her employer could be fully liable for your injuries and costs. Various factors could give rise to other types of third-party claims as well.

When filing a claim for a drugged driving accident in Pennsylvania, not only do you need evidence of liability (i.e., evidence that the driver who hit you was high), but you also need evidence of your present and future costs. This makes it important to see a doctor promptly, follow your doctor’s advice, and get in the habit of keeping all medical records, bills, receipts, and other documents you receive that are related to the accident or your injuries.

Tips for Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Drugged Driving Accident

While seeking just compensation after a drugged driving accident can seem overwhelming, help is available—and, for now, all you need to do is get started. With this in mind, here are some tips for protecting your legal rights:

  • Don’t Wait to Take Action – After any type of motor vehicle accident, it is important to take action as soon as possible. You don’t have to—and should not—wait to see if the drugged driver is convicted of DUI. To protect yourself, you should see a doctor and talk to a personal injury lawyer right away.
  • Focus on Documentation – When you have a personal injury claim after a drugged driving accident, documentation is the key to asserting your legal rights effectively. With this in mind, you should take detailed notes about the accident, and you should be sure to keep everything you receive from your healthcare providers or your employer.
  • Prioritize Your Recovery – This applies to all aspects of your recovery—physical, emotional and financial. Right now, you need to do what is best for yourself, and that means focusing on doing everything you can to help yourself get better and help your lawyer assert your legal rights on your behalf.

Talking to a lawyer costs nothing. Your initial consultation is completely free and confidential, and your legal fees (if any) will be calculated as a percentage of the amount your lawyer helps you recover. This is likely to be significantly more than any amount you could expect to receive by dealing with the insurance companies on your own.

Contact Us to Get Started with a Free Consultation Today

If you need to know more about filing a claim after a drugged driving accident in Pennsylvania, we encourage you to contact us promptly. With offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton and Stroudsburg, we handle drugged driving accident cases statewide. Call 888-777-7098 or contact us online to get started with a free consultation today.