A recent study from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that as opioid abuse and addiction has increased, so too have the number of fatal opioid-related car accidents. The study, which was published online in the American Journal of Public Health, analyzed traffic fatality data for 1995 through 2015 from states like California that automatically drug test people who die in motor vehicle crashes. Researchers found that the percentage of fatally injured drivers testing positive for prescription opioid use increased sevenfold in those two decades.
The results of the Columbia University study aren't all that surprising, considering that, from 1991 to 2014, the annual number of prescriptions written for opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone had quadrupled—from 76 million to a shocking 300 million.
Opioids are powerful pain relievers. Even when prescription opioids are used for legitimate medical reasons, they can still negatively impact driving performance by causing:
- Severe drowsiness
- Delayed reaction times
- Impaired cognitive functions
- Reduced motor skills
When such impairments occur behind the wheel, they can lead to significant accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Accident victims who are fortunate enough to have survived the crash may be faced with painful physical injuries and a long and challenging road to recovery that requires time away from work. A skilled personal injury car accident attorney can help victims build a strong case and increase their chances of receiving a fair financial award for damages such as medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Do You Need an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer?
If you were seriously injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of a driver who was under the influence of prescription opioids, you may be entitled to compensation. The knowledgeable car accident lawyers with the Inland Empire Law Group can review your case and help you explore your legal options. Contact the Inland Empire Law Group today at (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.