It’s well known that smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana before getting behind the wheel dramatically increases the likelihood of a car accident – even when the dose in question is small. However, proving marijuana impairment is much more difficult than proving intoxication by alcohol. That’s because marijuana remains in one’s system for much longer than alcohol. The effects may have long worn off, but traces of the drug remain days or even weeks after consumption.
Although some states have a legal limit allowable, scientists and medical experts mostly agree these limits are arbitrary, and aren’t necessarily the most accurate markers for determining impairment. Florida does not have a per se limit for drivers when it comes to marijuana.
In car accident civil injury lawsuits, that can be a double-edged sword. If it is believed defendant driver was under the influence, plaintiff attorneys will be tasked with carefully piecing together the circumstantial evidence to show impairment was a causal factor – knowing the presence of the drug in one’s bloodstream in and of itself isn’t proof positive. On the other hand, it will be tougher for defendants to assert plaintiff impairment simply by virtue of the drug’s presence in the body. If a defendant is successful, it could significantly hurt plaintiff’s case in determining both liability and damages. Continue reading →