Could My Medicinal Marijuana Prescription Be Used Against Me After a Minneapolis Car Crash?
Medical marijuana became legal in Minnesota in 2014. According to Minnesota’s Office of Medical Cannabis, there were more than 40,000 patients in the state’s Medical Cannabis Registry as of March 23, 2023. There is no doubt that many of these patients drive, which also means they could be involved in crashes.
If an insurer finds out a crash victim has a prescription for medical marijuana, you can be sure the insurer will try to use this fact against them. Even if you have been following Minnesota law and using medical marijuana responsibly, the insurance company may say you caused, or partially caused the crash.
TSR Injury Law’s experienced Minneapolis auto accident lawyers discuss medical marijuana and car crash liability. If you were injured in a crash caused by another driver, we are here to help.
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Seeking Compensation After a Minnesota Car Crash
It is important to remember Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means you can seek compensation from your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance no matter who is at fault. PIP provides compensation for hospital and medical bills, along with lost wages and replacement services.
After some crashes, your lawyer may also recommend filing a liability insurance claim against the at-fault driver. It will be up to your attorney to provide evidence that the other driver’s actions were the cause of the collision that resulted in your damages.
In a liability insurance claim, a crash victim’s medicinal marijuana prescription may come into question. As the insurance company is going to try to use this against the victim, it is important for victims to inform their attorneys if they have a prescription.
Keep in mind that insurance companies may try to use prescriptions for other medications against you as well. This is especially true if you are taking medications that causes drowsiness or other side effects that affect your ability to safely operate a car.
Who Can Get a Prescription for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota?
Use of medical marijuana in Minnesota is only legal for people with certain medical conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
- Seizure disorders
- Tourette syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sleep apnea
- Crohn’s disease
- Illness that is expected to cause death within one year
How Medical Marijuana May Impair Your Ability to Drive
Even though you have a prescription, the Minnesota Department of Health advises patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery while experiencing the effects of medicinal cannabis. These effects can include delayed reaction time and impaired reflexes.
The duration of side effects from medical cannabis depends on many factors, such as:
- How much you have used
- How long ago you used it
- How your body responds to the use of marijuana
- The amount of THC in the marijuana you consumed
- If you drank alcohol while under the influence of marijuana
While these factors must be considered when determining how long marijuana affects a user, side effects typically last several hours.
If you get into a car crash while you are still experiencing side effects from the use of medical marijuana, you could bear some amount of liability for the collision. This is especially true if there is evidence your negligence behind the wheel was at least part of the reason for the crash. For example, if you rear-ended another vehicle, it is easier for the opposing side to argue your reaction time was delayed. It is a reasonable argument that your medical marijuana use was the reason why you did not stop in time to avoid a collision.
Could You Be Held Liable Because of Your Medical Marijuana Prescription?
It would be difficult for the insurance company to hold a medical marijuana prescription against you if:
- Evidence supports that you were not driving recklessly during the crash
- You have a valid prescription
- You can establish responsible use of medical marijuana
It is important that victims of a car crash hire an attorney who is prepared to take the case to court. The possibility of going to court is often motivation enough for insurance companies to increase their offer of compensation.
Many insurance companies are also unwilling to risk going to court If your lawyer has strong evidence that is likely to convince a jury. Not only could the insurance company lose the lawsuit, but they may also end up paying much more than they would have had to pay in an out-of-court settlement.
The bottom line is that if you’ve suffered injuries in a crash that was not your fault, you need an experienced lawyer, with a history of results, fighting for the compensation you need.
Each car crash and resulting legal case is different. If you have questions about how a medical marijuana prescription may affect liability for the crash that injured you, contact us for assistance.
What if I Have a Positive Drug Test?
Another factor to consider is that even if you were not experiencing side effects, marijuana is likely to show up on a drug test weeks or even months after it is consumed. That is why you may need testimony from a doctor about how much THC was in your system and whether that amount would be enough to impair you as a driver.
This is yet another reason why crash victims, including those who use medical marijuana, need an experienced lawyer who is prepared to handle a complex car crash claim. An experienced lawyer knows how to find relevant experts to help build a strong case.
Were You Injured by a Negligent Driver? Call TSR Today
We have helped countless victims of car crashes in Minneapolis and throughout the state. We know the many challenges victims face, including the physical and emotional challenges presented by their injuries. We also know how devastating a car crash injury can be to your finances.
Our experienced attorneys are here to help you pursue the compensation you need for your injuries and damages. We have the legal knowledge and resources to guide you through the legal process.
We know many crash victims are concerned about the cost of hiring a lawyer, but at TSR there are no upfront costs. We do not get paid unless you receive compensation.
Have legal questions following a crash? Call TSR today: (612) TSR-TIME.