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Driver in Deadly Crash Accused of Operating While Impaired by Drugs

After a married couple was killed and seven others were injured in a Brentwood auto accident, police said that the man who caused the crash was under the influence of drugs. With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in New York and other nearby states, authorities are concerned that impaired drivers will make roads more dangerous. Moreover, law enforcement officers and victims seeking compensation in civil litigation might have more trouble proving a drugged-driving case because testing and legal standards are not yet as clear-cut as they are in cases where an individual is intoxicated behind the wheel.

Following the fatal three-car crash, 27-year-old Christian Lopez was charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs. This charge carries penalties similar to a Driving While Intoxicated count and can be brought whether the substance causing the impairment is legal or not. Along with the criminal ramifications, a series of personal injury and wrongful death claims will likely ensue.

If you believe drugs might have been a factor in your vehicle accident

Most New Yorkers understand that a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher means that a driver is legally intoxicated. The fact that a driver was over the limit can be strong evidence when a victim seeks damages in court. However, proving a motorist was affected by a controlled substance or a prescription pharmaceutical can be much more complicated. Chemical testing isn’t as straightforward with drug impairment, so cases often hinge on observation from witnesses and reporting officers, such as how the driver’s eyes looked or if there was a familiar odor in the car.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash where the other car was being operated in a reckless or erratic manner, it is important to tell your attorney what you saw. Don’t be misled into thinking that only certain types of people get behind the wheel after taking substances that alter their perception or behavior. A grandparent who got a painkiller from their doctor could pose the same threat as a young person driving home from a rowdy party.

The lawyers at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP are experienced auto accident litigators who serve clients throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. We can take the available facts, consult with experts and use the discovery process to determine if the other driver’s use of drugs contributed to the accident in which you were injured. From there, we will press for appropriate compensation to cover your medical bills, lost income and other damages stemming from the crash.