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Is Driving After Using Cannabis Negligence?

Posted on in Car Accident

CO defense lawyerRecreational and medical cannabis use has been legal for adults 21 and over in Colorado for years. Detecting an odor of cannabis from a residential property is no longer grounds for calling the police, but the same smell emanating from the vehicle that just hit yours is. Driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime in Colorado - and it may be an easy way to establish negligence. Drugged driving is a crime because it is dangerous. When someone chooses to drive despite feeling the effects of cannabis, they are being careless with the safety of others. If you were hurt by a driver who may have been under the influence, you should get in contact with a personal injury lawyer who can set you on the path to recovering compensation.

How Cannabis and Alcohol Use Affect Accident Claims

Driving under the influence of cannabis is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, and just as illegal. Colorado treats alcohol and cannabis DUIs in much the same way. If the driver who caused your accident was “high,” he could be subject to arrest on top of being liable to you in a lawsuit. Because driving while impaired - whether by alcohol, cannabis, or another substance - is illegal and highly dangerous, the presumption is that a drunk or drugged driver is liable.

If you can demonstrate that the driver who crashed into you was impaired, you have almost certainly proven that the other driver was negligent. While it helps if he was arrested and charged with DUI, there are other ways of showing impairment in court if this did not happen for whatever reason.

What Challenges Can Cannabis-Based Negligent Driving Claims Bring?

If the other driver was drunk after visiting a bar, Colorado’s dram shop laws offer an additional layer of protection. Bars that overserve patrons who then go on to injure someone can be held liable in some cases. This is not the case when it comes to cannabis-impaired drivers. Dram shop laws do not reach cannabis cafes and shops, although this may change in the future as the ubiquity of cannabis grows and accidents involving THC increase.

Proving cannabis impairment may also be more difficult than proving alcohol impairment if the negligent driver was not charged with a DUI. While drunkenness is easy to spot and hard to mistake, cannabis intoxication may be more subtle. Alcohol always has a noticeable odor, but THC edibles may have no scent, and the odors produced by a vaporizer can fade quickly. Signs of cannabis use such as red eyes or slowed speech are also easily misattributed to tiredness or emotional upset after a crash. If you suspect that the driver who caused the wreck is impaired, it is especially important to get in quick contact with a lawyer who can help gather proof.

Call a Larimer County Car Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a car accident and suspect that the responsible driver was impaired, contact Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. Our experienced Fort Collins impaired driving injuries lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and fight for you to receive compensation. Call 970-225-2190 for a free consultation.


Source: https://www.codot.gov/safety/impaired-driving/druggeddriving

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

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Fort Collins, CO 80524

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