Driving Under the Influence
Impaired driving from alcohol and drugs is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, in 2017, there were more than 69,000 impaired driving incidents reported by the police, including almost 3,500 drug-impaired driving incidents.
Since the legalization of marijuana in October 2018, the number of reported drug-impaired driving collisions has increased significantly, likely through a combination of legalized roadside testing for marijuana and the more prevalent use of the drug by casual users.
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Additional concerns stemming from the increase in marijuana use by drivers include the unpredictable impact it can have on an individual, the lack of standardized portioning, and its widely varying potency. As opposed to alcohol, where 2 drinks and you will likely blow over unless enough time passes to metabolize it, it can be difficult for a user to gauge the level of intoxication from marijuana. Many drug-impaired drivers deny feeling stoned.
As well, mixing alcohol and marijuana can quickly lead to impairment. The prohibited blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 80 milligrams or more (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood. However, the prohibited levels of alcohol and cannabis, when found in combination, is 50mg or more of alcohol per 100ml blood and 2.5 ng or more of THC per ml of blood. One stiff drink and a bit of weed and a driver could be legally impaired.
These relatively small amounts of alcohol and marijuana lead drivers to believe that they are fine to drive. However, ever at these levels, impairment of motor skills, reaction time, concentration and judgement can occur, leading to tragic consequences.
It is some comfort that preliminary screening for alcohol can be done without reasonable suspicion that the driver has been drinking, and initial oral fluid drug screening can be administered on reasonable suspicion of drug use. However, despite these safeguards, impaired driving collisions remain a devastating and all-too-common reality.
The Province of Ontario has strict regulations against drivers who are impaired by alcohol, marijuana or other drugs. In some cases, the driver may not be the only party at fault. Often, responsibility also falls on licensed establishments such as bars, restaurants and clubs, or retail suppliers of alcohol like liquor stores and craft breweries.
A licenced establishment can be held accountable if:
- Alcohol was sold or served to a minor who injured or killed another individual;
- Alcohol was sold or served to an intoxicated individual, who then caused in injury or death to another individual.
Punitive damages are intended to punish an individual for driving under the influence. In some cases, punitive damages can be awarded against drivers with a very high blood/alcohol concentration level, illegal narcotics or prescription medications in their system.
If you have been involved in an accident with someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is important to document as much detail as possible of the events leading to the accident and after it has occurred, including: taking pictures, collecting witness information, collecting drivers information, and seeking necessary medical treatment. If you are not able to do so at the time, make sure you write down everything you remember as soon as you can.
At Campisi LLP, we ensure that each member of our team is trained to fight for the rights of clients who have been injured at the hands of an impaired driver. You will receive guidance and expertise from our accident benefits team, who have the experience and focus necessary to advocate on your behalf. We have the expertise to win these complex disputes. If you’ve lost a loved one due to an impaired driver, our lawyers can advise you on your family’s rights.
We can advise you regarding your potential access to Accident Benefits. When they are available, you must act fast as there are strict time limits.
Within 7 days of the accident: Inform the accident benefits insurance company of the accident and that you were hurt.
Within 30 days of receiving an accident benefits application: Send in the completed application that was provided to you by the insurance company. If you take longer, the insurer can delay your benefits for 45 days and may be able to deny you benefits altogether.
Within 10 business days of receiving a request for information: Your insurance company can request information needed to determine your entitlement. You have 10 business days to provide it, or they can suspend or deny your benefits.
Within 2 years of a denial: If your insurance company denies benefits to which you are entitled, you must apply to the License and Appeals Tribunal within 2 years of the denial.
We Can Help
Impaired driving causing injury or death leads to criminal charges. While it is important for the victims and their families to see justice done, the criminal case does nothing to compensate victims for their losses.At Campisi LLP, we are legal experts who fight tirelessly for our clients who have been seriously injured by impaired drivers in:
Whether you were a pedestrian, the operator or passenger in another vehicle struck by an impaired driver or were an injured passenger in an impaired driver’s vehicle, we have the expertise to win your case and get you the compensation you deserve.
We Win Cases That Change The Law
At Campisi LLP, you and your family are in good hands. Our Managing Partner is not only an exemplary personal injury lawyer and a past member of the Brain Injury Society of Toronto, he is a Professor of Insurance Law at one of Canada’s top law schools – the only Personal Injury Lawyer in Ontario with a Ph.D. in Insurance Law. Our lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients with serious injuries like these, and use their extensive knowledge of the law, the medicine and the insurance system to win your case.
We Guarantee to Always Put Your Future First
You don’t pay for anything until your case is won or settled. We treat you as we would our family, making ourselves available 7 days a week to guide you through these difficult times. We are selective when taking on new clients so that you receive the attention you deserve, and the commitment to win your case.