A trucker deemed negligent in a trucking accident lost his appeal on a $3.3 million verdict favoring the driver of a minivan who suffered serious injuries in the crash. Part of that appeal was based on the assertion that trial court wrongly excluded evidence of plaintiff’s marijuana use prior to the crash. Defendant also argued against the medical necessity of future shoulder surgeries. The California appellate court affirmed.
Although California was the first state to legalize marijuana as medicine (and one of a handful now to allow it for recreation), it’s not the only one now grappling with traffic-related issues involving marijuana – both in the civil and criminal courts. It is a much more complex issue than alcohol impairment of a driver because with marijuana (and many other drugs), traces are left in the system long after consumption. That means one may test positive for marijuana – even at a higher level – and not necessarily be impaired. One can have relatively high levels of marijuana in the blood and urine even if they have not consumed the drug within days or weeks – by which time the psychoactive effects would have worn off.
Therefore, determining when marijuana in the system is “active” versus “inactive” can be tricky. We are likely to see it play it an increasing number of personal injury cases here in Florida, now that the drug has been approved as a prescription for certain conditions. Continue reading