Can Intoxication from Prescription Drugs Be the Basis of Liability in a Maryland Bus Accident?

Intoxicated driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents. Of course, many Maryland DUI accidents are the result of drivers drinking too much alcohol or taking illegal or recreational drugs before getting behind the wheel. However, many prescription drugs impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle as much as alcohol or street drugs.

Under the law, a driver who is intoxicated by prescription drugs can still be negligent and held responsible for an accident victim’s injuries. A recent case discusses a tragic bus accident in which an intoxicated driver killed a young boy.

According to the court’s opinion, a young boy rode his bike into the street without stopping, right into the path of a school bus. The school bus had just stopped, and was proceeding to go through the intersection when the driver heard and felt the bus hit something. The driver slammed on the brakes, exited the vehicle, and learned that she struck the young boy. The boy later died from his injuries,

Responding police officers believed the bus driver to be under the influence. She was taken to the hospital, where staff administered chemical tests confirming that the only medications in her system were prescribed. Still believing that the driver was illegally impaired, detectives searched the woman’s home, finding additional medicines that did not come up on the drug screen.

The boy’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, claiming that she was negligent in driving a school bus while under the influence of prescription medication. The parents argued that if the driver had not been on the prescription medication, she would have been able to avoid the collision with their son.

The case proceeded to trial, where a jury found that plaintiffs’ son to be 80% responsible for the accident, and the bus driver 20% at fault. The jury awarded the plaintiff’s $250,000, which was reduced by 80% based on their son’s percentage of fault. The plaintiff’s filed an appeal, but the court determined that many of the issues raised in the appeal were not properly preserved at trial or in post-trial motions. Thus, while the court heard and rejected a few of the plaintiffs’ arguments, most of their claims were dismissed without consideration. As a result, the plaintiffs were stuck with the $250,000 award.

Have a Loved One Been Injured in a Maryland Bus Accident?

If you have a loved one who has recently been injured in a Maryland bus accident, contact one of the dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have assembled an impressive team of skilled and compassionate attorneys who dedicate their career to representing injury victims. We serve clients across Maryland, Virginia, and the District in Columbia in all types of injury claim, including Maryland car accidents, slip-and-fall claims, and wrongful death cases. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today. You can also contact us online through our website and an attorney will be in touch with you shortly.

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