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motor vehicle accidents

Portland Drugged Driving Accidents

Serving Clients Injured by Intoxicated Drivers

While many Portland residents use prescription drugs for a variety of reasons, and some grow marijuana for personal use or purchase it at an Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) licensed retail location, this does not mean that it is safe to drive with drugs in your system. Drugged driving shows a disregard for your own safety as well as for the safety of every other driver, passenger, and pedestrian on the roads.

When you are driving a motor vehicle, you have a duty to use reasonable care on the road. If you fail to do so, a serious drugged driving accident can happen. If another driver’s negligence behavior caused a drugged driving crash in which you or someone you love got hurt, you should speak with a Portland drugged driving accident lawyer to learn more about seeking compensation for your losses.

Getting the Facts About Drugged Driving in Portland

How common is drugged driving in Oregon? According to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) entitled, “Drug-impaired Driving,” it turns out that drugged driving crashes now outnumber drunk driving accidents. Indeed, the report noted that, of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2015:

  • 43 percent tested positive for drugs in their systems; and
  • 37 percent tested positive for alcohol.

To be clear, the report suggests that more deadly crashes are resulting from drug-impaired driving than from alcohol-impaired driving.

It is illegal in Oregon to drive under the influence of intoxicants, including any type of drug that can lead to a drug-impaired crash. Under the Oregon statute (ORS 813.010), “a person commits the offense of driving under the influence of intoxicants if the person drives a vehicle while the person . . . is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance, or an inhalant.”

The GHSA report notes that, although recreational marijuana use is legal in Oregon, this does not mean that a person can drive while intoxicated by marijuana or any other drug.

Seeking Compensation through an Insurance Claim or a Lawsuit

Oregon is a no-fault state when it comes to car crashes and insurance claims. This means that an injury victim can seek compensation by filing a claim with her own insurance or by filing through the impaired driver’s insurance company. It is important to note, however, that some insurance companies do not cover a drug-impaired crash. If the other driver’s policy has a DUI/DWI exclusion or if the other driver is uninsured, you can file a claim through your own policy.

In some situations, it might make sense to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. Generally speaking, Oregon law (ORS 31.705-31.735) permits an injury victim to seek the following types of damages:

  • Economic damages: this is a type of compensatory damages that can compensate a victim for direct financial losses like medical bills, surgery costs, prescription drug costs, and lost wages.
  • Non-economic damages: this is also a type of compensatory damages that can compensate a drugged driving accident victim for more subjective losses like pain and suffering, or the loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive damages: this type of damages award is not designed to compensate for losses, but rather to punish the drugged driving for wrongdoing. These damages can be difficult to obtain, but they can also be awarded to a drugged driving accident victim.

Contact an Attorney if You Were Injured by Someone Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Were you injured by an impaired driver in Oregon? A Portland drugged driving accident attorney may be able to help with your case. Contact The Johnston Law Firm for more information.