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How could a Drug Influence Evaluation influence your civil claim

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2017 | Blog, Firm News

Connecticut has strict laws that address impaired driving and protect victims of impaired driving accidents. However, proving a driver was under the influence of marijuana or other drugs may be challenging. Law enforcement officials typically use a Breathalyzer test to reveal a driver’s blood alcohol concentration. If his or her BAC is over .08 percent, officers will file drunk driving charges. However, with Connecticut decriminalizing marijuana use — even only in small quantities — and more and more people using medical marijuana, how will authorities determine cannabis impairment?

At this time, there is no instrument that allows for roadside testing for marijuana. For that reason, law enforcement may call for a trained Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to subject the driver to a Drug Influence Evaluation (DIE) if a field sobriety test causes suspicion of drug impairment. Tell-tale signs may include abnormal blood pressure, red eyes and unusual pupil size.

What will the DRE determine?

The two scenarios that may involve the services of DREs include an arrest made by the DRE or the expert assisting in an impaired driving investigation after another officer made the arrest. If police suspect a driver of drug impairment, the specialist will likely conduct the evaluations at the police station or another controlled environment rather than at the roadside. The following three aspects of sobriety or impairment will be evaluated during a diagnostic examination:

  • Is the vehicle operator impaired? — If the DRE determines that the driver is impaired, he or she will evaluate the person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
  • What caused the impairment? — The DRE will ascertain the reasons for the impairment — it could be an illness, injury or medical condition. However, if it is drug-related, further tests will follow.
  • Which drugs are involved? — The next step will be to establish the categories of drugs that caused the individual’s impairment.

What does the testing involve?

The duration of a drug evaluation test will be about an hour. The DRE will assess and evaluate the driver’s behavior and appearance before measuring and recording the vital signs and checking his or her automatic reactions and responses. A psychophysical test will form part of the evaluation during which the DRE will test the person’s judgment and ability to process information along with other characteristics such as coordination. In a systematic order, the specialist will consider all issues that could indicate drug impairment.

If you are suspecting that a driver impaired by marijuana or other drugs rather than alcohol caused an accident that left you suffering the consequences of injuries, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court. However, these cases can be quite complex, and you might have many questions about your rights and the most appropriate way to establish negligence. An experienced personal injury attorney can answer questions and provide any support and guidance you might need.


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36-year-old laborer for landscaping company fractured wrist when fellow employee hit him with truck. Claimant received in excess of $30,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for total disability and medical expenses and settled with automobile insurance company for fellow employee for $95,000.

1989 workers’ compensation claim settled for $125,000. Claimant originally sustained a low back injury when she slipped and fell at local grocery store resulting in low back surgery in 1989. Several years later, claimant exacerbated her low back injury. Claim was reopened and settled with carrier for $125,000 in 2006.

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34-year-old male roofer sustained multiple injuries to his shoulder, neck, back and hip when he fell from roof during work. Claimant was provided workers’ compensation benefits in excess of $100,000 and settled remaining claims for an additional $55,000.

40-year-old male working for cleaning company sustained neck and low back injuries when he fell on defective staircase while cleaning local museum. Claimant recovered over $95,000 in workers’ compensation benefits and resolved claim against museum for $85,000.

26-year-old laborer sustained fractured foot when a cast iron pipe was dropped on his foot. Employer and workers’ compensation carrier denied claim on basis that injured worker was an independent contractor. After a series of informal and formal workers’ compensation hearings, carrier conceded that claimant was an employee and settled case for $85,000.

24-year-old waitress sustained back injury while working at Outback Steak House. Workers’ compensation insurance company initially denied the claim. After a series of informal hearings, carrier accepted claim paying medical expenses and total disability benefits. In addition to those benefits paid, claim settled for an additional $75,000.

Delivery truck driver sustained right wrist fracture in rear-end motor vehicle accident while in the course of his employment. Claimant recovered in excess of $40,000 in workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and total disability benefits. Claimant settled case against at-fault driver for $105,000.

22-year-old male working as stocking clerk at “big box” retailer sustained herniated disc in low back. Workers’ compensation carrier refused to accept the claim. After formal workers’ compensation, hearing commissioner ordered carrier to pay over $35,000 in past total disability benefits and pay for surgery and all related medical expenses. Case settled for an additional $35,000 for a total recovery in excess of $100,000.

Rear-end collision on entrance ramp to Merritt Parkway resulting in 49-year-old woman sustaining mid-back injury. Case settled at mediation after filing suit for $300,000.

28-year-old passenger sustained multiple herniated discs in automobile accident in New York state. New York no-fault carrier paid for extended period of disability from work and medical expenses, including expenses for surgery. Case settled against driver of vehicle for $300,000 policy limits shortly after filing suit.

54-year-old man sustains shoulder injury when hit from behind by uninsured motorist on New Jersey Turnpike. Case settled for $135,000 prior to trial.

CT Transit bus driver sustained torn meniscus in collision with another vehicle. Claims made against at-fault driver, workers’ compensation carrier and client’s underinsured motorist policy. All claims settle for a recovery in excess of $100,000.

68-year-old woman sustained neck and back injuries in rear-end collision and required extended course physical therapy, but was not a surgical candidate. Case settled for $100,000 prior to filing suit.

34-year-old woman sustained concussion and neck and back injuries in hit-and-run accident on a New York highway. Claimant settled uninsured motorist claim for her $100,000 policy limits.

80-year-old woman sustained right foot fracture when her foot was run over in a parking lot. Case settled for at-fault driver’s policy limit of $100,000 prior to filing suit.

38-year-old nanny sustained right femur fracture when she fell down defective stairs in home of her employer’s neighbor. All medical expenses and lost wages reimbursed and case settled for an additional $150,000.

Claim against landlord for defective staircase in multi-family rental house. Claimant sustained a right femur fracture. Case settled for $125,000 prior to filing suit.

$95,000 judgment obtained against bar and nightclub for assault by one of its patrons against another patron.

47-year-old woman sustained a broken left wrist when she fell from porch stairs at house she was renting. Case settled for $95,000 shortly before trial.

26-year-old male bitten on leg by German shepherd. Claim against dog owner settled for $65,000 plus payment of all medical expenses.