Pain medications can severely impair a person’s ability to drive. These drugs may induce drowsiness, dizziness, fainting, and nausea, reduce reaction time, and impair vision. Older individuals are at greater risk, and more than 60% of drivers age 65 or older take five or more medications on a daily basis that hinders their driving capability according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Studies by the AAA Foundation have shown that medications may impair a person’s ability to drive even more than alcohol does. People who take pain medications, drive, and cause accidents may be liable for jail time and lawsuits.
People who must drive while taking pain medications should be extremely cautious. In this situation, individuals should speak with their doctors about possible side effects that could possibly reduce driving capabilities. They should also discuss all the medications the patients are taking for possible combined effects of these drugs. Doctors may advise patients to adjust a dose or adjust the time when taking a medication to minimize the risk of an accident. People should also read the side effects listed on a medication’s packaging or instructions. Finally, they should carry a list of all the medications they are taking in case of an emergency.
People who are taking pain medications should consider other alternatives to driving. These could include:
- Getting driven by friends or family members
- Using public transportation such as buses and trains
- Taking a taxi
The reason people driving while under the effects of pain medications may be legally liable for jail time and lawsuits is because driving while taking these substances may be considered negligent. In the legal realm, negligence is when a person behaves in a thoughtless manner that may cause harm to others through a particular action that could have been avoided or prevented. Negligence is a term often used in motor accidents involving drivers who have taken pain medications because they put other people at risk. In these types of cases, the law explains that a driver taking medication could have been more careful, and as a result of the negligence, he or she caused injury or death.
Victims of car accidents who have been injured by a driver who was under the influence of pain medication may receive compensation for their injuries and mental distress. These cases are complex, and a victim would have to prove that the defendant was negligent in their behavior and could have taken precautions to avoid harming others. Hiring a personal injury lawyer may help victims navigate this complex area of law and learn whether they qualify for compensation. To find out more, call Seth Gladstein today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back with you within 24 hours.