$850 THOUSAND

Back Injury - Car Accident

The case was set for trial. Stephenson and Rife hired an animation company to prepare a video exhibit to help the jury understand the complexity of the surgery C.M. had to endure. Our attorneys shared the exhibit with State Farm at mediation shortly before trial. State Farm paid $850,000 to settle the case.

our client results

Drug Impaired Driving Crashes in Indiana

Have you been the victim of a motor vehicle crash where the other driver was DUID, meaning, driving under the influence of drugs?

indiana drugged driving accident attorney

It’s a growing problem. According to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, positive testing for marijuana or other illegal drugs rose from 12.4 percent in 2007 to 15.1 percent in 2013 and 2014. And the problem doesn’t stop with illegal drugs; prescription medications now cause a significant number of accidents.

Of those who died in accidents during 2013, 38 percent had detectable levels in their bodies of legal or illegal drugs that could impair them. This percentage number is almost the same as found in those who tested positive for alcohol. The most commonly-detected drugs were marijuana (34.7 percent) and amphetamines (9.7 percent). Note that the amphetamines class includes prescription drugs such as ADHD medications and over-the-counter drugs such as nasal decongestants.

Still, DUI (driving under the influence—of alcohol) and DUID have some notable differences. Alcohol leaves the body rapidly, so a blood alcohol content (BAC) test is generally a reliable way to determine intoxication. But with some drugs, notably marijuana, the psychoactive component, or what is known as the metabolite, can linger for weeks in a person’s urine or bloodstream. That means a person can test positive for marijuana and yet be completely sober behind the wheel, because we don’t have a test for marijuana and certain other drugs that is conclusive the way the BAC one is for alcohol. Prescription drug levels, and their effects on a person, can be equally hard to pin down and make prosecution difficult at times.

What Kinds of Drugs Put a Person at Risk for DUID Driving?

It is important to understand that the problem of DUID is not limited to illegal drugs, or to medical marijuana, which is legal in our neighboring state of Illinois. Indeed, over-the-counter drugs and legally-prescribed drugs play a significant role when it comes to DUID. Because the drugs are commonplace, drivers often consider them innocuous and think nothing of driving with such drugs in their system. Yet prescription drugs are a bigger problem than they used to be. One study has shown that legally-prescribed substances accounted for the largest proportion of drugs used by drivers in fatal car accidents during 2010: 46.5 percent. In general, the increase in fatal crashes involving drivers who are legally drugged has been rising since the mid-2000s.

These three classes of drugs could mean you are driving DUID:

  1. Over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines (Benadryl), or cold and flu medications that are sleep-inducing or otherwise cause mental confusion.
  2. Prescription medications that include anti-anxiety drugs (Valium, Ativan, Xanax), certain antidepressants (Desyrel), pain medications (hydrocodone, Oxycontin), and insomnia medications (Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, Restoril). Many of these drugs linger in the body long after you take them.
  3. Illegal drugs such as heroin, morphine, cocaine, LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy), methamphetamines, and marijuana, which is illegal in Indiana.

All of these drugs can affect a person’s driving and mean that the chances of an accident are higher than normal. An additional wrinkle can develop when people are taking drugs that are perfectly legal, but that cause problems when taken together. As we age, the dangers of driving after combining legally-prescribed medications can increase, simply because the older we get, the more likely we are to need prescription medication. Nearly 40 percent of people 65 and over take five or more medications on a regular basis. That leaves room for a lot of problematic drug interactions.

Indiana’s Drugged Driving Laws

When it comes to drugged driving, Indiana has what is called a per se policy, also known as zero tolerance. You can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if you have a substance’s metabolite in your system, regardless of your current sobriety. It also means that you can be arrested if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that you have an illegal controlled substance in your body while you are driving, regardless of how small the amount might be. The demonstration of actual impairment while you are behind the wheel of your car is not required for the officer to arrest you, only his or her reasonable suspicion.

Anyone arrested for a suspected DUID, according to the law, gives his or her implied consent to blood and urine testing. If you refuse to be tested, this fact can be used against you in court as evidence of alleged drugged driving.

Driving under the influence of drugs, whether legal or illegal, is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Using sedatives or anti-anxiety medications can cause dizziness or sleepiness. Using methamphetamines and cocaine can make a driver aggressive and reckless. Drugs that make you high, or that have certain side effects, or that linger in the body and cloud your mind, can do the following:

  • Wreck your depth perception
  • Delay your reaction time
  • Decrease motor coordination
  • Affect your ability to think clearly in general.

At McNeely Stephenson, just like the state of Indiana, we have a zero tolerance for those who drive under the influence of drugs.

real-life cases

We have won numerous multi-million dollar cases for our clients.

See examples of how we helped clients whose lives were turned upside down by reckless or negligent acts of others. We took on negligent county officials when D.H. flew over his handlebars while riding on a bridge left in disrepair for years. We brought justice to the family of of J.M. and his wife after a defective tire ended their lives. We held a drunk driver and those who served him alcohol accountable when he seriously injured B.K., who also lost three family members in a crash.

Read more examples of how we get justice and compensation for our clients.

VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS

When others breach their duty, we keep ours.

If you are researching the legal rights and resources available in the aftermath of a drugged driving crash, we hope you’ll consider calling Indiana attorney Mike Stephenson to talk about what happened. You can be assured that our lawyers, and our financial resources, are willing to go the distance on your behalf. Like other personal injury claims in Indiana, a drugged driving injury claim must be filed within two years of the date of injury, so don’t delay. We offer free consultations, and there is no fee for any of our work if we don’t win your case. Contact Mike today by calling 317-825-5200 or use our online contact form for a free legal consultation. McNeely Stephenson. We believe justice matters.

Updates
Personal Injury Lawyer
April 29, 2019 / Personal Injury
Do I Have a Legal Case if My Child Develops CTE from Sports?

Thanks largely to the research of neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee and her team at Boston University’s CTE Center, more and more is becoming known about the connection between sports and CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This degenerative disease — caused by repeated concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) — is definitively diagnosable only after death, but it has been linked to myriad problems in life, including anxiety...

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

Mike Stephenson is a Super Lawyer in Indiana along with many of his peers at McNeely Stephenson. This is one of the highest honors an attorney can achieve

Indianapolis Law Firm

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

The AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell is the HIGHEST RATING and considered a significant accomplishment. It is a peer-reviewed process reflecting that other attorneys rank Mike Stephenson at the highest possible level of professional excellence.

Indianapolis Law Firm

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

Attorney Mike Stephenson is a proud member of The Litigation Counsel of America’s Honorary Society. A close-knit, peer-selected, and aggressively diverse honorary society of 3,500 of the “best trial lawyers” in the country. Less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers, vigorously vetted for skills, expertise, and service; an invitation-only collegial network.

Indianapolis Law Firm

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

The American Board of Trial Advocates is an invitation-only organization for attorneys of “high personal character and honorable reputation.” ABOTA works for the preservation of the civil jury trial, “Justice by the People,” and supports the right of a jury trial.

Indianapolis Law Firm

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers. Membership is extended only to the select few of the most qualified attorneys. Indiana attorney Mike Stephenson is proud to be included in this national organization of top trial lawyers.

Indianapolis Law Firm

AWARDED. CREDENTIALED. PROVEN.

Our attorneys are proven advocates and trial attorneys. They have served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials, and have handled litigation in 18 states

Indianapolis Law Firm