We recently discussed the liability factors present when medical marijuana is prescribed after a workplace injury, which led us to contemplate what would occur during other legal situations. Whether done recreationally or taken for medical reasons, marijuana has the tendency to become the focal point of many conversations on seemingly unrelated legal matters — such as unemployment benefits, for example. Many states now drug test for these benefits, which you will not receive when that test comes back positive (it seems worth noting that a positive test doesn’t actually mean you spent your own money — or used the unemployment funds — to buy weed).
So what happens when you were injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault and your doctor prescribed marijuana? Will the fact that you’re consuming a federally regulated drug make a difference in your personal injury case? These are the facts.
First, it’s important to decide whether or not the defendant might be able to claim that you were already using marijuana before the accident — in which case they might be able to provide a story that seems to say “I didn’t cause the accident; his marijuana use did!” And of course that’s the last thing you want to happen when trying to recoup damages sustained when you were seriously injured after an accident that was someone else’s fault. Firms like Hale Monico suggest you discuss the possibility of a drug test with your doctor before consuming any medically prescribed marijuana to discount this as a possibility.
Medical marijuana might be more likely to affect your personal injury lawsuit if the opposing part was using it at the time of the accident. For example, let’s say that a person under the influence of medically prescribed marijuana causes a car accident. You might have an easier personal injury case ahead of you. Also, you might have a more lucrative personal injury case ahead of you, because the judge will be more likely to provide extra compensation via punitive damages, which is a type of compensation awarded for the purposes of punishing one party for their gross negligence.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that authorities sometimes have a hard time deciding legally whether or not you or someone else was driving under the influence of marijuana. They have accurate tests that help them determine whether or not you were drinking and driving. But unfortunately for the law man, most drug tests only determine whether or not THC is still in the body — and that doesn’t help since the effects wear off long before the last trace of the substance disappears.
Legally, the best way for anyone to determine whether or not someone was driving while high is to conduct a blood test. In most circumstances this is considered far too invasive for a “what if” scenario and the legality is dubious. If a police officer asks you to submit to a blood test, your answer should be a definitive “no.” And you should ask for a lawyer…but that goes without saying!