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Impair Driving Causing Motorcycle Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports the cost of alcohol impaired motor vehicle accidents is approximately $37 billion per year. More disturbingly, 10,000 persons die annually in these accidents. A number of offenders were found to have been driving without a license, and 1/3 of them are also repeat offenders. Impaired driving is responsible for a number of motorcycle accidents. The motorist’s limited visibility relative to motorcycles in traffic is exacerbated when the operator of a motor vehicle is intoxicated. If you are hurt in an impaired driving accident, contact our experienced New Hampshire motorcycle injury attorneys for a consultation about your options.

Negligence in New Hampshire

It is extremely rare that a person who is legally intoxicated will not be found at fault under New Hampshire law for causing an accident. Even in cases where the operator of a motorcycle fails to observe a rule of road or traffic laws and an accident occurs, if the other driver involved in the accident is evenly slightly intoxicated due to alcohol or drugs (or a combination of both), there is a strong argument that can be made that the accident could have been avoided had the other driver been sober. There is ample research that alcohol, pain killers, sedatives, and marijuana greatly diminish reaction time. In numerous cases, our firm has successfully used toxicology experts to show how much alcohol and other drugs impact reaction time, vision, and perception when operating a motor vehicle. We combine the toxicologist’s input with calculations by an expert in accident reconstruction to show that if the impaired driver had been sober, the accident could have been avoided, even in cases where the impairment is below the legal limit for OUI.

Because police officers investigating a non-fatal accident rarely inquire about use of sedatives or prescription medications that impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, we routinely look into this issue on behalf of our clients when there is a dispute over fault. In one recent case we handled, evidence we uncovered about the defendant’s use of Clonazepam, a sedative, was extremely helpful in getting the defendant’s insurance company to reverse its initial decision that our client was solely at fault. The case ultimately resolved favorably for our client.

Marijuana intoxication is also difficult for law enforcement to assess following an accident due to limitations on the ability to determine whether a driver is legally impaired. In another case we handled, though the driver who hit our client claimed he had not consumed marijuana, our private investigator was able to find two witnesses who stated that they observed (and smelled) the defendant smoking pot in his car at a parking lot shortly before the accident. The witness statements played a big part in our client receiving an excellent settlement.

It is important to recognize that the legal standard for criminally impaired driving is not the same standard applied in civil personal injury cases. In civil cases, the question is solely whether the impairment was a factor in causing the accident, even if the impairment is well below what would be a violation of the criminal laws. We have successfully argued in numerous cases that operating a motor vehicle after having consumed small amounts of alcohol, pot, or sedating prescription drugs is not only inexcusable from the standpoint of public safety, but more than adequate evidence of the defendant’s responsibility for causing an accident.

Recover for Your Losses in an Impaired Driving Accident

Because evidence that a defendant’s use of even small quantities of alcohol, marijuana, and/or sedating prescription drugs can make all the difference in the outcome of a case, it is important to obtain the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to gather such evidence and protect your rights and interests. If you have been in a motorcycle accident—even one where the accident report finds you at fault, please call contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 800.804.2004 or fill out our online form. There is no charge for the consultation and no fee unless you win.