Marijuana-Related Crashes on the Rise in Washington State

A Washington car accident lawyer notes a study that suggests marijuana-related car crashes are on the rise in the state of Washington. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of marijuana-related accidents more than doubled in the state. In addition to criminal charges, people who drive under the influence may be liable to the others they harm, and victims of negligence, as well as the families of those killed, may be eligible to recover compensation with the help of a Washington car accident lawyer.

For more information, contact Attorney Group for Washington. We offer free, confidential, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a case we can connect you with affiliated Washington car accident lawyer who can assist you throughout the legal process.

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Report: Fatal Marijuana Related Accidents Doubled Between 2013 and 2014

A study suggests that marijuana use is becoming an increasingly common factor in fatal car accidents in Washington State. As The Washington Times reports, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released the results of a study that assessed five years of data collected after fatal Washington auto accidents. According to the analysis, within a year of the legalization of marijuana, the state experienced a rise in deadly crashes involving drivers who had the drug in their systems. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of fatal marijuana-related accidents more than doubled, from 40 to 85.

Critics note that there are limits to this research and the conclusions that it supports. The data indicates whether a driver had marijuana in his or her system at the time of an accident, but it cannot prove that a driver was impaired or that the accident occurred due to this impairment. Still, the findings are alarming. With the recent rise in deadly accidents taken into account, about 10 percent of all fatal car accidents that occurred in Washington State between 2010 and 2014 involved a driver who had been using marijuana, the website reported.

Criminal Liability for DUI Driving Accidents is Different Than Civil Liability

Regardless of the outcome of any criminal action against a driver involved in a DUI case, the determination of the criminal court is different than any civil case that may be brought against the driver. In a criminal matter, a person is accused of a crime and, if convicted, can be sentenced to jail or probation. Sometimes monetary fines and restitution are imposed on the guilty party.

However, the outcome of a criminal matter is often not relevant to a civil matter that could be brought against the person committing the wrongful act. A person who drives intoxicated commits a crime, but if that person also injures or kills another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, he or she may face civil liability in addition to criminal charges.

In a civil case, a person’s actions are not judged on whether they were illegal, but instead on whether they constituted negligence, reckless or malicious behavior, or other fault. If those actions are found to constitute fault, and if those actions caused injury to another person, then the wrongful actor may be held liable to the injured party for the payment of money to compensate for the injuries and other damages caused.

How a Washington Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Drivers or passengers who are injured in car accidents may be entitled to compensation for damages resulting from their injuries, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages

The families of those killed may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.

If the actions causing injury are malicious or so reckless that intent to harm can be inferred, the responsible party can be liable for punitive damages to punish wrongful conduct and deter similar conduct in the future.

The Time You Have to Pursue a Claim is Limited. Contact Us Today.

For more information, contact Attorney Group for Washington. You can fill out the form on this page or contact us by phone or email.

After you contact us, an attorney will follow up to answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.

Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.