Can Minnesota Drivers Be Held Liable for Crashes if They Were Impaired by Prescription Drugs?

Man in his car with hand on his head.

Most drivers know the dangers of getting behind the wheel after drinking. What about the dangers of taking prescription drugs? Driving while under the influence of a prescription medication can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, if not more so.

Our Minneapolis car accident lawyers discuss why it’s unsafe to drive while under the influence of these drugs and whether this could result in criminal charges in Minnesota. We also review liability for a crash when one of the drivers was on prescription medication.

Were you injured in a car crash by an impaired driver? Do you suspect the driver was under the influence of prescription drugs? TSR Injury Law may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries. There is no obligation to hire our team to represent you. You can speak to one of our lawyers during a free initial consultation.

Call to speak with our legal team and discuss your legal options. (612) TSR-TIME.

What Types of Prescription Drugs Could Impair Drivers?

Although prescription drugs are intended to help people with different type of medical conditions, they can hinder a driver’s judgement, reaction time and concentration.

Here are some common types of prescription medications that might impair drivers’ ability to safely operate a motor vehicle:

  • Opioid Pain Relievers: Medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine can cause drowsiness, impaired thinking and decreased reaction times.
  • Benzodiazepines: These drugs are used to treat insomnia and anxiety. Examples include diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan). These prescriptions could cause dizziness, drowsiness and confusion.
  • Antidepressants: Some antidepressants, especially older tricyclics like amitriptyline and nortriptyline, can result in sedation, dizziness and slower reaction times.
  • Antiepileptic Drugs (AEDs): These are medicines doctors use to control seizures, such as phenobarbital, topiramate and carbamazepine. Antiepileptics can impair cognitive function and motor skills.
  • Antipsychotics: Drugs like chlorpromazine and haloperidol can sedate patients, blur their vision and make them dizzy.
  • Muscle Relaxants: Medications such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and carisoprodol (Soma) have side effects like drowsiness and dizziness.
  • Antihistamines: These include drugs like Benadryl, which are used to control allergies. However, they can make you drowsy, which impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Drivers should be aware of the potential effects of these medications and discuss their ability to drive safely with their healthcare provider. Sometimes doctors can adjust the dosage and frequency of use of these drugs to avoid side effects that make it unsafe to drive.

Could Impairment From Prescription Drugs Lead to a DWI Charge in Minnesota?

Anyone driving while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or another controlled substance could potentially be charged with driving while impaired (DWI).

According to Minnesota law (169A.20), a driver who is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or an intoxicating substance may face DWI charges. Controlled substances include illegal drugs and prescribed medications.

For instance, drivers could potentially face a DWI charge if they were under the influence of pain relievers, anti-depressants and even sleeping pills.

People who suffer from insomnia may rely on sleeping pills to help them fall and stay asleep at night. Sleeping pills may seem harmless, but they are designed to make you extremely drowsy. The feeling of drowsiness can last up to a day after taking the pill.

Many of these drugs block or suppress certain signals in your nervous system. As a result, your body may become more relaxed, making you feel drowsy or even high. When you are in this state of mind, it can become dangerous for you to do things like drive a car or operate heavy machinery.

Can I Sue a Driver Who Was Impaired by Prescription Drugs?

Yes, you might be able to sue a driver who was impaired by prescription drugs if he or she caused your car crash and injuries. Driving while under the influence of medication is considered negligent, which means that the other party may be held responsible.

The doctor who prescribed the medication could even be held partially liable for the crash if he or she failed to warn the patient of the potentially dangerous side effects. Doctors have a duty of care to inform drivers of any side effects that could occur while they are driving.

However, most car accident cases are resolved through an insurance settlement. Most cases do not end up in court, although our firm is always prepared for that possibility. We have extensive experience negotiating for compensation and securing favorable results in the courtroom.

Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for a Claim Against an Impaired Driver

You may think securing compensation will be easy if the other driver was impaired, especially if he or she was criminally charged. However, obtaining full compensation can be quite difficult without the help of a seasoned attorney who has a history of results.

Here are some of the ways our attorneys can help you with the legal process:

Conduct a Thorough Investigation

Your lawyer can take the necessary steps to find out what medication the other driver was taking and if it may have contributed to the crash.

Collect Enough Evidence

A lawyer can review the accident report, identify and interview witnesses, and recover photos, videos and other evidence to support your claim.

Handle All Settlement Negotiations

If you decide to manage your case on your own, you will need to deal with the insurance company. This is risky because insurers are trained to manipulate crash victims. They also take claims less seriously when victims are not represented by attorneys.

If you hire a lawyer, he or she can handle this, possibly increasing your chances of securing full compensation. This frees you from having to figure out how to counter the insurance company’s arguments or attempts to lowball your claim.

Injured by an Impaired Driver? Contact TSR Injury Law Today

You do not have to go through the insurance claim process alone. Not only can it be time-consuming, but it can also be very frustrating and difficult to prove your claim with a defendant’s insurance company that will do everything possible to shift blame onto you.

At TSR Injury Law, we have advocated for injury victims and their families for nearly three decades. We want to help you get through this difficult time. We charge no fees unless we win your case.

Call to schedule your free legal consultation: (612) TSR-TIME.

How a Dirty Windshield Increases the Risk of a Collision on Minnesota Roads

A dirty car windshield.

Dirt, snow, dust or other debris stuck on your windshield can reduce your visibility on the road and increase your risk of a collision, putting you and other drivers in danger.

TSR Injury Law explains what drivers should know about the risks of driving with a dirty windshield and the traffic laws on windshield obstructions.

If you were injured by another driver’s negligence in Minnesota, our Minneapolis auto accident lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation. We charge no fees unless we win your case, and your initial consultation is free.

Call for legal assistance today: (612) TSR-TIME.

Is There a Law About Driving With a Dirty Windshield in Minnesota?

While Minnesota traffic laws do not specifically mention dirty windshields, statute 169.71 says you are prohibited from driving any motor vehicle with a windshield so discolored it obstructs vision.

The same statute says every vehicle must be equipped with a device to clean moisture, including rain or snow, from the windshield. This device must be controlled by the driver of the vehicle.

If you were injured in a crash caused by another driver, and your lawyer can establish the driver violated one or both laws, he or she may be held liable for damages.

Why Windshields Get Dirty

Here are some of the main reasons why windshields become dirty or cluttered, impairing drivers’ vision:

The Environment

There are a lot of things in the air that could fall onto your windshield, such as pollen or bird droppings. Airborne dust could also land on your windshield, especially in dry weather. You may have a hard time clearing things from your windshield if you do not do so quickly. A significant amount of buildup over time can obscure drivers’ visibility.

Airborne particles are especially likely to stick to your windshield in urban areas, as there is a lot of air pollution.

Pollen and bird droppings are also likely to stick to your windshield if you regularly park your car by trees or bushes.


If you’ve ever been on a long road trip, you know driving at high speed for long periods can result in a lot of bugs hitting your windshield. You may also realize using your wipers to clear away the dead bugs can make things worse, smearing them across the glass.

Bad Weather

Streaks on windshields make it much harder to see everything in front of you. Streaks are often the result of a buildup of ice, snow or rain. These weather phenomena can also combine with dirt, particularly when you have old wiper blades. These weather conditions can also make the windshield blurry, making it difficult for drivers to see.

Grime From the Road

Things like mud or dirt can fly up into the air and onto your windshield because of other vehicles. This may be much more likely to occur after heavy rain or snowstorms. Driving through rural areas with muddy or gravel roads can also make it easy for mud and dirt to appear on the windshield.

Like dust or pollen, you may have a hard time removing them from your windshield, especially if they stay on the surface for a prolonged amount of time.

How a Dirty Windshield Could Cause a Collision

Driving with dirty windows or windshields puts drivers at unnecessary risk. These are some of the factors than can increase the likelihood of a crash:

Impaired Vision

Dirty windshields are extremely hazardous in bad weather, such as heavy rain, snow or fog. It can be difficult to see through these weather conditions and a dirty windshield will only further reduce your visibility.

Dirty windows can make it difficult to spot pedestrians, cyclists or other vehicles in your vicinity, increasing the likelihood of a crash.

You may need to squint often to make out what is ahead of you as headlights and streetlights can create significant glare, especially at night in rainy conditions. This can be incredibly dangerous when trying to make turns, especially left turns.

Glare and Reflections

Dirty windows create glare and unwanted reflections. When the sun or oncoming headlights hit a dirty windshield, it can be blinding, especially at night.

Worn/Inoperable Wipers

Although windshield wipers are essential for helping drivers see more clearly during bad weather conditions, such as rain or snow, they can also reduce visibility.

Using wipers on a dirty windshield could smear dirt over the glass, reducing visibility even more. Cleaning your windshield with a microfiber cloth and glass cleaner, or simply soap and water, can help remove residue.

Reduced Reaction Time

Dirty windows can delay your ability to perceive and respond to unexpected dangers. Quick reaction times are needed in hazardous situations – sometimes reacting a second or even a split second sooner can prevent a collision that results in serious injuries.

How to Keep Your Windshield Clean

These are some of the steps you can take to keep your windshield clean:

  • Clean your windshield on a regular basis: Make sure to use a quality glass cleaning product and a microfiber cloth. You should clean the inside and outside of your windshield. Cleaning the windshield is particularly important if you are regularly in areas with a lot of pollen and/or heavy traffic.
  • Replace wiper blades when they stop working as they should: It is usually best to replace windshield wiper blades once a year, and sometimes every half year. The clear sign your wipers are too old is when you flip them on, and they create streaks on the glass.
  • Fill up your windshield wiper fluid when it starts running low: This is something you can check every couple of months. Make sure you fill the reservoir up with the right cleaning solution. You will need to use a different solution in the wintertime – colder weather calls for a fluid with antifreeze. Another factor to consider is if the windshield washer nozzles are clogged. Check these when replenishing your wiper fluid.
  • Keep your vehicle covered: If you are able, park in a garage or under cover whenever possible. If your area does not have a garage, you may want to purchase a car cover. Covering your vehicle is one way to protect it from the elements, such as leaves, dirt or pollen.

Injured in a Minneapolis Collision? Contact TSR Injury Law for Legal Assistance

If you were injured in a collision caused by a negligent driver, you will have many decisions to make. One of the most important is the lawyer you choose to represent you.

You need an experienced law firm that has a proven history of helping crash victims obtain the compensation they needed for medical care and other damages. TSR Injury Law has been taking on these cases since 1998 and we have obtained more than $1 billion on behalf of our clients.

After a crash, TSR Injury Law is ready to assist you. Our lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, so there are no costs up front.

Call us today to schedule your free consultation: (612) TSR-TIME.

Liability if a Car Crashes Into a Building in Minnesota

When a car loses control and crashes into a building, the injuries and property damage can be devastating. While the vehicle occupants could be severely injured, those inside the building are also at risk of severe injuries.

Below, TSR Injury Law’s Minneapolis car crash lawyers explain common causes of these types of crashes and who may be held liable. Although drivers are typically the only liable party, property owners and other entities may bear fault.

If you were injured in a car crash, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. Our legal team is here to support you during this challenging time and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Since 1998, our attorneys have advocated for injury victims and their families throughout Minnesota, recovering millions on their behalf.

Call to schedule your free legal consultation: (612) TSR-TIME.

Why Do Cars Crash Into Buildings?

There are numerous reasons why cars crash into buildings. These are some of the most common causes:

Driver Error

This is probably the number one reason why drivers crash into buildings, like convenience stores or grocery stores. Oftentimes, a driver will confuse his or her gas pedal for the brakes while backing out of or pulling into a parking spot.

While any driver could make this type of mistake, elderly or new drivers may be more likely to hit the gas instead of the accelerator.

Reckless Driving

We have all seen drivers who speed through parking lots or residential areas. Speeding increases the risk of losing control of your vehicle, especially when hazardous situations arise. For example, a speeding driver will have less time to avoid a car that starts backing out of a nearby space or a pedestrian that wanders into the speeding driver’s path, which may lead them to swerve into a nearby building.

Driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or certain prescribed medications is also a common reason a driver crashes his or her vehicle into a building. Alcohol and other drugs can slow your reaction time and impair your judgment, making you more likely to engage in reckless behavior.

Another Crash or Hazard

There are times when someone crashes into a building after trying to avoid a hazard, such as an animal darting across the street.

Sometimes a collision with a building occurs as result of another crash. For instance, a collision with another vehicle could send one or both vehicles off the road and into a building.

Mechanical Error or Breakdown

If a vehicle’s brakes fail or the car accelerates without the driver hitting the gas, the driver could lose control. Tire blowouts are another common reason why drivers lose control.

When Could a Driver Be Held Liable?

In most cases, the driver of the vehicle that slams into a building is held liable. He or she is the one who had the best opportunity to prevent a collision. After all, these crashes are often the result of driver negligence, such as:

Those injured by the crash (other drivers, pedestrians who were inside or outside of the building, etc.) may be able to pursue a liability claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Drivers and pedestrians who were injured can also seek compensation from the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage in their own auto insurance.

What if the Driver Does Not Own the Vehicle?

If the driver borrowed the vehicle from someone, the owner of the vehicle may share some liability for the damages caused by the crash, even if the vehicle was taken without permission.

If the driver stole the vehicle, the owner could still be held partially liable if his or her negligent actions resulted in the theft. For example, if the owner of the vehicle left the car running to stop inside a convenience store, this may be considered a negligent action. Leaving the car running gives thieves more than enough time to steal a vehicle.

Other Parties That Might Bear Fault

Sometimes, there are other parties besides drivers who bear some amount of fault for a collision with a building, such as:

The Property or Business Owner

If there were conditions an owner neglected to address that may have resulted in a vehicle crashing into his or her building, the owner may be held liable for a portion of damages.

The Vehicle Manufacturer

If vehicle malfunctions or defects contributed to the collision, such as failing brakes, the manufacturer of the vehicle or a component could be held liable.

However, if the driver was aware of a recalled part that ended up contributing to the crash and did not get the recall repair, the driver may still be at fault.

What if You Are in a Building When a Car Crashes Into It?

If this ever happens, it is important to get out of the building as soon as possible. There is no way to know the severity of the structural damage in the moments after the crash. You do not want to be inside if parts of the building come crashing down or cave in.

If you were injured, seek immediate medical attention. After you receive the treatment you need, consider calling an experienced lawyer to discuss your situation. You may be able to seek compensation and a lawyer can help you explore possible legal options.

At TSR Injury Law, we have been helping injured victims for many years, and are prepared to advocate for your rights. Our services are provided at no upfront cost to you.

Call for legal assistance. Your case review is completely free. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME.