Will Medical Marijuana Use Affect My Personal Injury Claim?
Medical marijuana laws in Colorado mean that you might not have to worry about a marijuana-related arrest, but legal substances can still affect your judgment and your ability to drive. Marijuana is still a drug, which means it has the potential to alter your perceptions. Just as alcohol is legal but can undermine your personal injury claim, so too can marijuana. Except when it’s obvious that the other party is solely at fault, marijuana use can harm your claim if you are a daily user, used shortly before the accident, or were cited for violating any drug law.
Investigating Marijuana Usage
If you’re a medical marijuana user, you might wonder how the insurance company will learn of your marijuana usage. In most cases, if you have prior medical records, your recreational drug use will have been asked about and your answer noted. If you use marijuana and have lied about it to your doctor, everything you’ve told your doctor about pain and other symptoms becomes questionable.
If you’re in a car accident and accused of driving under the influence, a drug test could show that you recently used marijuana – though not necessarily that you were high at the time of the accident. Insurers may also comb through your medical records or look for a history of drug-related arrests.
Effects on Personal Injury Claims
When you file a personal injury claim, the other side will frequently do everything in its power to avoid responsibility for your injury. One easy way to do this is to argue that marijuana inhibited your judgment at the time of the accident.
It’s not just marijuana that this argument works for. Insurers routinely argue that other prescription drugs inhibit judgment and motor skills, and it doesn’t matter that the drugs are legal. Instead, the question is whether your own actions may have contributed to – or completely caused – the accident.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Marijuana stays in the body for weeks – or even months – after you smoke it, which creates a problem for proving whether or not you were using the drug at the time of the accident. A positive drug test, therefore, doesn’t necessarily mean you were high. Your attorney can help you argue that marijuana either wasn’t in your system at the time or didn’t affect your judgment. Testimony from your doctor, a test that shows the precise quantities of marijuana in your system, and expert testimony about the effects of marijuana on people who use the drug for medical reasons can all help your case.
Whatever you do, don’t admit that marijuana compromised your judgment, or willingly volunteer your marijuana usage without first consulting a lawyer. You can still win a personal injury claim as a medical marijuana user, but the process can be a bit more difficult and may require specialized evidence that you may not know how to gather on your own. If you have been injured in an accident, seek the advice of an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney. Call McDivitt Law Firm now for a FREE consultation.Back to the Blog