Car accidents are an unfortunate risk that all drivers, passengers and pedestrians assume on the roadway. They can lead to severe injuries and, in some cases, even fatalities. Such injuries can be difficult for victims and their families to deal with emotionally and financially, but it may be even tougher when the accident is due to impaired driving by one of the parties.
A New York man was recently indicted on charges related to a motor vehicle accident. Officials allege that the man was driving while under the influence of both marijuana and Xanax at the time of the accident. The collision occurred when the vehicle the man was driving crossed the centerline and collided with a semi-truck. The crash resulted in the death of a male passenger in his car, while the driver suffered head and internal injuries. The criminal charges against the driver include aggravated manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Additionally, the driver faces multiple drug offenses due the discovery of a bag of marijuana inside the vehicle by authorities.
The determination of liability in car accidents is typically governed by the legal theory of negligence. Every person operating a motor vehicle has a duty to use reasonable care in his or her actions. To prove negligence, a plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty, that the breach caused the accident and that the accident caused the plaintiff's injuries. One of the factors involved in determining a driver's negligence is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The driver in the case above is alleged to have been under the influence of marijuana and Xanax at the time of the accident. If this can be proven, it may establish negligence of the driver.
Injuries and fatalities that result from car accidents can lead to significant financial damages for victims and their families. Although no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a loved one, it can prevent family members from adding to their financial burden. It is therefore incumbent upon them to be aware of their possible rights to recovery and the burdens of proof they must meet to do so.