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When Happens When a Stoned or High Driver Causes A Car Accident?

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Cannabis became illegal in Iowa in the 1920s. Efforts to decriminalize it have failed, though medical marijuana did become allowable a few decades ago. CBD oil is also illegal for recreational use, but it is legal for certain medical conditions like cancer, chronic pain, MS, Parkinson’s, and seizures. Recreational users are subject to stiff penalties for driving while impaired. The state has a zero-tolerance policy. If a stoned or high driver causes an accident, the laws are in your favor. Here’s what you need to know.

Penalties for Driving While Impaired

The penalties for driving while impaired are clear. No amount of a controlled substance is allowed in the bloodstream. A first offense comes with a minimum of 48 hours up to a year in jail. If the impaired driving led to a crash that caused bodily injuries a fine of $1,250 is also applicable but may be replaced by community service in some situations. Loss of license for 180 to 365 days is also applicable.

A second offense leads to a jail sense of 7 days to 2 years, fines of $1,875 to $6,250, loss of license for up to 2 years, and participation is required in substance abuse and impaired driving programs.

The jail time for a third offense is 30 days to 5 years, fines ranging from $3,125 to $9,375, loss of license for up to 6 years, mandatory participation in substance abuse and impaired driving programs, and other conditions the judge feels are necessary.

Those are the penalties the driver faces, but what about you? You’re left with car repair and towing bills to pay, medical bills, time off from work, and more. Here’s what you need to do to make sure you get fair treatment following a crash with a stoned or high driver.

Gather as Much Evidence as Possible

What is most important is that you take care of yourself. Common injuries following a car crash include head injuries, whiplash, bone fractures, and lacerations. If you’re not sure if you’re injured or not, stay put until paramedics arrive. You can call 911, but if you can’t move, witnesses and other drivers will be doing that for you.

If you’re okay and your car is drivable, move as far off the road as possible. Take photos of your car, the area where the accident occurred, traffic signs and signals, and other cars or property damaged in the crash.

Get names and contact information for witnesses. Get the other driver’s car information, insurance information, and contact information. You’ll need all of this when you file a claim. If the other driver is at fault, you or your insurance agent will file the claim against that driver’s insurance. If the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured, your insurance coverage will help.

Talk to the police when it’s possible. If you’re going to the hospital, the police will come to the hospital to talk to you or instruct you to stop by the police station when you’re released. You need to do this in order for an accident report to be filed. You’ll need the accident report number for your insurance company.

When you’re home and are able, call your insurance company to file the claim. You’ll provide details of the crash, witnesses, the other driver’s information and insurance policy number, the accident report, and any photos or information you can add.

You’ll wait for results of the other driver’s blood test, the assessment of damages to your car, the replacement estimate if your car is a total loss, and an estimate for the property damages. Lost wages, medical bills, towing bills, and a rental car are also factored into your claim. Once all of this is gathered and valued, you’ll be sent a settlement offer.

Talk to a Car Accident Attorney

We hope you’re not hurt in the crash, but you could well be. In 2012, over 2.5 people went to the ER following a crash. The CDC reports that medical expenses for all crashes during 2012 will total around $18 billion. While 75% of those medical bills accrued during the first 18 months following a crash, there are medical treatments that become necessary years later that are still related to the crash that took place years earlier.

That’s right. Years from now, you could face additional medical bills related to the crash. If you’ve taken the insurance company’s settlement and need help paying for these new medical bills, you could be out of luck. It’s why you must talk to an attorney who specializes in car accidents.

With more than $1.5 billion in judgments and settlements for victims of everything from car crashes to wrongful death, Trial Lawyers for Justice is the team you want on your side following a crash with a stoned or high driver. The insurance settlement offer may not be enough to cover your mental and physical injuries, loss of work, and other expenses related to the crash. Stand up for your rights and get what you deserve. Call the team at 1-866-TL4J-LAW for a free consultation.

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Trial by Human

Nick Rowley founded Trial by Human, a nationwide legal education course to help trial lawyers improve their skills in the courtroom by "being human".