When most individuals think of DUI charges, they think of drivers who abuse illegal drugs and/or alcohol. However, drivers who operate their vehicles while using prescription drugs may also be guilty of driving under the influence if their medications impair their driving skills. For example, a driver who has a prescription for anti-anxiety medication may become very sleepy and may begin swerving into other lanes. In this situation, the driver may be charged with driving under the influence.
Drivers who cause accidents while under the influence of prescription drugs may not only face criminal charges, but they may also be liable for monetary damages in a civil claim. Whereas criminal charges may results in fines, jail time, and community service, civil cases seek to hold a defendant financially responsible for the harm he or she has caused. In personal injury cases, this may include the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
How do You Prove a Driver was Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs?
Police officers are trained to recognize signs of impaired driving: weaving in and out of traffic lanes, failing to yield, delayed reactions, and driving recklessly are all signs that a driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Once law enforcement stops the driver, the officer will search for other cues in the driver’s behavior, such as slurred speech, dilated pupils, drowsiness, excessive sweating, and a number of other physical symptoms. In many cases, the driver possesses the substance that he or she has taken. In other cases, the driver admits to having a prescription for a medication. Blood tests may also detect specific amounts of prescription drugs in a person’s system.
Common Prescription Drugs that Impair Driving
Some of the most commonly cited medications in prescription drug DUI cases include:
- Antianxiety medications
- Medications that contain codeine
- Select antidepressants
- Cold and allergy medication
- Pain relievers
- Sleep aids
Even if a driver takes the prescribed dosage of a medication, that driver may still be charged.
Accidents Caused by Impaired Driving
If you were injured by a driver who was under the influence of a prescription drug, you may be entitled to monetary damages. You must demonstrate that the driver’s actions directly caused your harm. For instance, you must show that your severe back pain was a result of the accident and was not a preexisting condition. Your attorney will examine the accident report and any charges filed against the at-fault driver to determine which prescription drugs may have been a factor in the accident.
Meet with our Attorneys to Determine your Options
If you were injured in an accident and think the at-fault driver may have been under the influence of prescription drugs, contact the injury attorneys at Stein & Shulman today to set up a free consultation to discuss your claim. We have decades of experience and help our clients obtain maximum compensation. To schedule your free initial consultation, call (312) 422-0500 or visiting steinshulman.com.