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Can Prescription Drugs Increase Chances of an Accident?

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on January 15, 2020

Most drivers are aware of the laws against driving under the influence (DUI) of illegal drugs, but fail to realize the equal risks of driving under the influence of certain prescription drugs. A drug’s legality as a prescription medication does not exempt it from Florida’s DUI laws if it affects the driver enough to interfere with his or her driving ability. A driver that causes an accident while under the intoxicating influence of prescription medication could be liable for a victim’s damages. Our Tampa car accident attorneys and Lakeland injury lawyers share information about accidents with a driver under the influence of prescription meds.

How Could Prescription Meds Cause Accidents?

Certain prescription medications have side effects that no driver could contend with while remaining in safe control of a motor vehicle. These medications often come with warnings not to drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of the drug, but many patients do not read the warnings or take them seriously.

  • Tranquilizers
  • Sleeping pills
  • Antianxiety medications
  • Some antidepressants
  • Cough medicines
  • Decongestants
  • Painkillers
  • Antihistamines
  • Allergy medications
  • Stimulants or diet pills

A driver should always test how a prescription drug affects him or her first on a day with no driving. That way, the driver will understand how the medication might interfere with safe driving, such as by causing dangerous fatigue or dizziness. The driver will then know to either not take the medicine before driving, adjust the dose or avoid the medication altogether.

What do Prescription Meds Do to Drivers?

The side effects of prescription medication could be equivalent to the effects of alcohol or illegal drugs on a driver. Although every patient is unique, some drugs have ingredients with a high probability of causing certain side effects, such as nausea or drowsiness. It is a doctor’s responsibility to warn drivers of these side effects, as well as a driver’s duty not to get behind the wheel after taking a potentially impairing prescription med.

  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Forgetfulness and memory loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Brain fog
  • Inattentiveness
  • Slowed reflexes and reaction times
  • Excitability
  • Serious health effects, such as seizure or heart attack
  • Fainting

If a driver takes a medication that interferes with his or her ability to drive, a crash may occur. The driver may doze off behind the wheel, become disoriented, pass out or otherwise become unable to safely control the vehicle after taking the pill. This can cause serious car accidents and related injuries or deaths. The victims of these types of accidents may have claims against the driver for DUI, even if the driver had the legal right to take the drug.

Steps to Take After an Accident

After an accident with a driver that appears drugged, disoriented, foggy or otherwise out of it, call the police. Dial 911 from the scene and report a potential drunk or drugged driver. A police officer can interview the driver, administer a Breathalyzer test, document the appearance of the driver, take photographs and videos, and take the driver into the station for questioning. Further investigation into the driver could lead to evidence of drugged driving, such as the driver admitting to taking prescription medications before driving, as well as a DUI charge.

Evidence from a police report and/or DUI criminal case could help you file a civil claim against the drugged driver for your damages and losses. The at-fault driver should have been more responsible while taking prescription medications with dangerous side effects and avoided getting behind the wheel. If you suffered serious personal injuries, expensive vehicle damages, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, discomfort, lost quality of life, or emotional harm in an auto accident with a driver on prescription drugs, the driver may owe you compensation. File a lawsuit against the driver with help from a DUI accident attorney to demand fair financial recovery.

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