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Not all impairment is due to alcohol

When another driver strikes your vehicle, one of the first things that you might wonder is whether that person was impaired or sober. One thing to remember in these cases is that you can’t assume that a person isn’t impaired if you don’t smell alcohol. It is possible that a person is too intoxicated to drive due to something other than drugs. Car wrecks caused by impairment are often tragic.

Impairment from drugs can arise from the person using over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs or illegal substances. The only thing that matters in these cases is that the person’s ability to drive has been negatively impacted by the effects. Even common allergy medications can lead to difficulties with driving abilities. Narcotics, sleep aids and marijuana can all have impairing effects.

You might think that it is easy to determine if a driver is impaired due to drugs, but this might not be the case. It is true that blood tests can determine if a person has a specific drug in their system. The mere presence of trace levels of drugs doesn’t give an accurate account of the driver’s impairment. Many drugs remain in the blood or urine for a long time after the effects have abated.

Since the criminal case and personal injury case are held in different courts and serve different purposes, you might not have to show that that person was impaired when he or she struck you. Instead, you might focus on the negligent actions that led to the crash. Still, being able to prove the impairment might benefit your case by tying together some of the loose ends.

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