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Marijuana Decriminalization Could Lead to More Traffic Accidents

Posted on in Car Accidents

traffic accidents, Plainfield, IL car accident attorneyLast year Illinois decriminalized possession of marijuana in small amounts. Instead of facing jail time, people found carrying less than 10 grams of marijuana will be fined a maximum of $200. This new law could result in more accidents caused by drivers under the influence of marijuana.

Other States Have Seen a Spike in Accidents Involving Marijuana

States around the nation have decriminalized or legalized marijuana over the last few years. One such state is Washington, where marijuana was legalized. According to the American Automobile Association, the percentage of drivers in crashes with fatalities who were found to have traces of marijuana in their blood has increased 100 percent since marijuana was legalized in the state.

If Illinois is anything like Washington, drivers on the road will be at increased risk of getting in a car accident with someone under the influence of marijuana.

What is Considered Impaired in Illinois?

The Illinois law that decriminalized possession of marijuana also set a standard for driver impairment under the influence of marijuana. Under the old law, any trace of marijuana was enough to be considered impaired. Critics of this law argued that marijuana can stay in a person's body for weeks, and the zero-tolerance approach was too harsh. The new law states that any amount over five nanograms of THC in the driver's blood, or 10 or more nanograms of THC in saliva, is considered impaired.

Accident Victims May Be Entitled to Punitive Damages

If someone is injured in a car accident that was caused by driving under the influence of marijuana, accident victims may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are a rare type of damages that are not awardable in every case. 

All other damages are intended to make the victim whole again by paying for medical treatment and compensating for pain and suffering. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the person at fault. in Illinois, punitive damages are appropriate for accidents caused by a driver under the influence. This damage award is usually quite large and can greatly enhance an accident victim’s recovery.

Contact a Will County Auto Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by driving under the influence of marijuana or alcohol, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. A knowledgeable car accident attorney will be able to argue on your behalf.

At Flaherty Law, we are committed to making client’s whole again and punishing drivers who put the public at risk by driving under the influence. Contact the skilled Plainfield, IL car accident attorney at Flaherty Law by calling 815-577-7500. We offer free consultations and case evaluations. 

Sources:

http://www.livescience.com/54693-high-drivers-double-after-marijuana-legalization.html

https://legiscan.com/IL/text/SB2228/2015

 

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