Legalized marijuana, driving, accidents and proving negligence

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2019 | auto accidents |

More than five years ago, Colorado began legalizing sales and recreational use of marijuana. Businesses, lawmakers, law enforcement officers and the public have been trying to figure out how to adjust to the new state of affairs ever since.

One of the biggest sticking points remains the question of driving while under the effects of marijuana. The official position of the Colorado Department of Transportation is that drivers should not consume marijuana in any amount before driving, lest they run the risk of driving while impaired. Colorado law sets a legal limit of five nanograms of THC in the bloodstream, as measured in blood or saliva tests.

Critics say these tests are not reliable ways to measure impairment. Unlike alcohol, THC can linger in the bloodstream for days. There is also a large amount of variation in how individuals respond to THC, with some people being greatly affected by a small amount, while others remain unaffected. That said, law enforcement officers are trained to detect marijuana impairment in a number of ways, and do not necessarily need results of a blood test to arrest a driver.

When a person is injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, the injured may be able to recover compensation for their damages through a personal injury lawsuit. In cases where the other driver has been convicted of drunk driving in connection with the accident, the injured party has a relatively easy time establishing that the driver was negligent. This may not be as easy when the other driver was high.

The injured and their families can talk to a personal injury lawyer with experience in Colorado cases, including marijuana-related cases. An attorney can advise clients on their legal options and the best ways to build a case.