Due to crashes caused by drivers under the influence of marijuana, rideshare passengers may suffer serious injuries or death. As of September of 2021, over one-third of states across the country have legalized marijuana for recreational adult use – widely expanding consumption. Despite legalizations, when using rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft, passengers reasonably expect their drivers to be sober. However, some rideshare contractors may still get behind the wheel and pick up passengers while under the influence of marijuana.Accidents stoned drivers may have repercussions for the Rideshare driver and passengers.However,legal options exist to help both move forward.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
The effects of marijuana may cause impairments that affect drivers’ ability to safely operate their vehicles. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, research shows drivers have a 62% increased likelihood of bearing responsibility for collisions than sober motorists. Once ingested or consumed, marijuana may have adverse effects on motorists including the following:
- Impaired decision-making
- Slowed reaction times
- Distorted perception
- Decreased coordination
These and other such effects resulting from marijuana use may make it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, focus on the task of driving, and respond to situations on the road.
Liability for DWI Rideshare Accidents
When passengers suffer injuries in rideshare wrecks involving stoned drivers, they may pursue compensatory damages from the drivers, the rideshare company, or both. The two largest rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft require their contracted drivers to maintain personal liability auto insurance policies. The companies also carry policies for drivers; however, if they were under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash, the rideshare company’s coverage may not apply.
Working with a personal injury or a wrongful death lawyer, injured passengers, or the families of those killed in fatal accidents may recover compensation for their injury-associated losses. Such damages may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, lost earning capacity, lost wages, and funerary expenses.
Consequences for Rideshare Drivers
For their part, rideshare drivers accused of operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana may face criminal charges, in addition to the potential professional and financial consequences. To help protect themselves and their rights, rideshare drivers who find themselves in such situations may find it helpful to discuss their situations with a DWI attorney to learn more about their options and how best to proceed given their unique circumstances and needs.
Protecting Oneself After a Rideshare Crash
Taking steps after involvement in a DWI rideshare wreck may help injured passengers protect themselves and their rights. After such an accident, people should gather the contact information for the drivers involved, as well as for any other passengers or witnesses. Such details may prove useful should those injured have to pursue legal action to recover the compensation they deserve. Injured passengers may also find it helpful to take pictures of the vehicles involved, the scene of the crash, any evidence of drug use, and any visible injuries. Passengers should also report such incidents to the rideshare company and express any concerns about their drivers’ behavior.
Rideshare accidents involving stoned drivers may have serious repercussions for the drivers and their passengers alike. However, legal options exist to help both move forward.