Marijuana use has been cited as one factor in the increase in fatal car accidents across Colorado. Since its legalization, traffic accidents have increased across the state, though marijuana is only one factor in a handful.
In 2017, there were 139 fatal car accidents involving marijuana in our state. 35 of those, accounting for just over 25%, involved a driver with more than five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their bloodstreams. Five nanograms of active THC in the bloodstream is considered Driving Under the Influence in Colorado. In 2016, there were 125 fatal car accidents in Colorado involving a driver who tested positive for marijuana. 52, or nearly 42% of those accidents involved a driver with more than five nanograms of THC in his or her system.
While there was a reduction in the precentage of accidents caused by legally high drivers in Colorado between 2016 and 2017, there was an increase in the number of drivers who had THC, in some amount, in their systems at the time of a fatal car accident.
Testing for Marijuana
Pinning a motor vehicle accident on marijuana can be difficult. THC will stay in the blood for 30 or more days. People who use marijuana regularly may always have at least some amount of THC in their systems. Having THC in the system does not mean a person is high. It may not even be an accurate reflection of the last time they used the drug.
As with any accident, those involving marijuana need to be investigated by a competent and qualified attorney who can use his knowledge of accident recreation to properly identify the liable party. Remember, a person does not need to be legally intoxicated to be mentally and physically altered by drugs or alcohol. If poor driving decisions follow marijuana use - even if that use was minimal - the driver may be liable for any damages that occur.
A Look at Alcohol
There were 139 fatal car accidents involving a driver who tested positive for marijuana in Colorado in 2017. During that same time, there were 171 fatal car accidents in our state caused by drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. Despite the increase in accidents related to marijuana, alcohol related car accidents are still the most common cause of fatalities.
There were a total of 648 fatal car accidents in Colorado last year. 35 involved drivers legally intoxicated by marijuana. 171 of those involved drivers legally intoxicated by alcohol. 25 drivers involved in fatal car accidents tested positive for both marijuana and alcohol, or alcohol and another drug, up from eight the year before. This latest trend may be the most upsetting. That's an increase of more than three times over the course of just one year.
Have You Been Injured?
No matter if your accident was caused by a driver who was drunk, high, or stoned, if you are injured by an intoxicated driver, you are entitled to seek compensation beyond whatever insurance deems “fair.” In fact, with legal assistance, you may be able to collect enough compensation to cover all of your medical expenses, lost wages, and future economic concerns. The best way to determine if you have cause to file suit is through a free and confidential consultation at our Denver office.
If you are in need of a lawyer in Denver or surrounding areas of Colorado, please call Leventhal Sar LLC at 720-667-3030 to schedule your complimentary consultation today. We welcome clients living along the Front Range and throughout the eastern slope and plains.