In what seems like an all-too-common story, a Maryland man was recently charged in the death of another after he drove a vehicle under the influence. The man is now facing manslaughter charges for his role in the car accident, among other criminal charges.
The charges stem from the man's driving under the influence of drugs. While he was driving his pickup truck under the influence, the man crossed the center line of the road and hit another car head-on. The accident killed the driver of the other vehicle, a young man who was working as a molding technician.
Typically, when people think of driving under the influence, they conjure up thoughts of a drunk driving accident. However, other substances, including illegal drugs and prescription medications, can equally cause devastating accidents, and related criminal charges.
Moreover, just like an alcohol-related DUI can lie at the heart of a personal injury suit, so can a case involving a person driving under the influence of drugs. Indeed, many states have "per se" drugged driving laws, which make it illegal to operate a vehicle with a detectable amount of drugs in a person's system. Maryland is not one of these states, however.
Of course, if a person is charged criminally with driving under the influence of drugs, there may be a presumption of negligence for purposes of a civil lawsuit. Typically, if a driver violates a state statute, there may be a presumption of negligence as a matter of law. Under these circumstances, the person who violated the statute must show he was not negligent, or at least that his negligence was not a proximate cause of the accident.
Source: Baltimore Sun, "Churchville man charged in 2011 crash that killed 21-year-old," Nov. 8, 2012