Fatal Car Accidents Resulting from Drugged Driving

As motorists ourselves, the frequency of fatal automobile, commercial truck and motorcycle collisions can be a nagging concern that rarely goes away. And while most people have themselves never been in a serious traffic accident, no doubt there is a large percentage of people out there who know someone or have heard of a friend, relative or business associate who has been hurt or maimed in a bad traffic wreck.

At the Law offices of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, our legal staff spends its fair share of time behind the wheel, which means that we understand the dangers that Maryland roadways can present to the average commuter, soccer mom, business person or professional driver. Surely, many of us have observed at one time or another the ugly and distressing aftermath of a serious auto wreck on the roadside.

Whether traveling through the Baltimore or Washington, D.C., area, traversing the surface streets of Annapolis or Gaithersburg, or just driving to the local supermarket, traffic collisions can happen without notice and with little or no reason. And while it is true that the majority of car, truck and motorcycle collisions do happen without warning, it could be said that many are probably avoidable. And, of those avoidable roadway incidents it must be said that impaired driving is one of the most preventable.

As Baltimore personal injury lawyers, we know that there are many families every year whose lives are shattered by the unconscionable actions of other drivers. Drinking and driving, operating a motor vehicle while impaired by prescription medications, and drug DUI are all deadly activities of those careless, thoughtless few. But even though we know it doesn’t have to happen, every year dozens of people are killed or maimed by individuals who think nothing of themselves and perhaps even less of those around them.

For auto and trucking accident lawyers such as ourselves, we can assist surviving family members in bringing wrongful death lawsuits against a negligent driver or other party. Here in Maryland, state law permits a victim’s family to file a claim of wrongful death against another driver on the deceased’s behalf. Usually, this kind of negligence claim seeks to compensate the family members for the loss of their loved one; in doing so, these claims seek to recover monetary damages for the family’s loss of the victim’s love, companionship and financial support. In short, a wrongful death claim typically seeks to provide the surviving family members with damages equating to what they may have expected had the victim lived a full, fruitful and productive life.

As personal injury attorneys, the legal staff at Lebowitz & Mzhen knows that drugged driving, just like drunken driving, is a relative plague on our state’s highways, beltways and city streets. But just like almost any place in the country, the past 25 years have only made a dent in the problem of impaired driving. The fact is that drugged driving arises from substances, both legal and illegal, which adversely affect a driver’s cognitive and motor skills. By impairing judgment as well as driver reaction time, drugged driving is a certainly a serious public health concern, since it threatens not only other drivers, but vehicle occupants and pedestrians at the curbside.

For alcohol impairment, the detection of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) in the bloodstream requires a relatively simple procedure with 0.08 percent being the legal limit here in Maryland as well as other states. But for illicit drugs, there is no universally agreed-upon limit for which impairment has been reliably demonstrated. It is also problematic for law enforcement personnel to know the level at which a drug exists in a person’s system. It is complicated all the more by the fact that some drugs linger in the body for a period of days or weeks after initial ingestion.

When looking at the percentage of the driving population who are at any one time operating a motor vehicle on the road while impaired by some drug or medication, we know that a 2007 survey done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that over 15 percent of motorists driving during the weekend or in the nighttime tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter medications.

Furthermore, while greater than 11 percent of drivers tested positive for illicit drugs in another NHTSA safety study back in 2009, researchers found that in fatal traffic collisions almost one-fifth of the negligent drivers tested positive for at least one drug (such as an illegal CDS, prescription medication, or over-the-counter pharmaceutical). That number was actually up 13 percent from several years prior. The sad commentary at that time was that substance abuse problems were still increasing and that preventing impaired driving through additional educational campaigns and increased law enforcement efforts was critical to the public’s health and safety on our nation’s roadways.

At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we know that a wrongful death lawsuit can never bring back someone lost to a drunken driving or drug DUI traffic accident. But what we can do, as legal experts in this area, is help to gain compensation for those families who have lost loved ones to senseless alcohol- and drug-related traffic wrecks.

Because damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be greatly contested, we know the best way to fight for the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages. Whether a person dies as a result of a car or trucking accident involving a distracted driver, drunken motorist, or intoxicated vehicle operator, the decision to file a claim for damages as part of a wrongful death case should be fully discussed with an experienced Maryland injury lawyer.

As skilled professionals in the field of personal injury, we have the training and skills to ensure that past, current and future medical expenses will be covered for the victims of impaired driving. Our legal staff welcomes any and all inquiries. Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. You may email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen, or call our law offices toll-free at (800) 654-1949 to set up a meeting to discuss the details of your case.