The New York Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of reinstating a bus driver’s medical malpractice suit against the South Nassau Communities Hospital and its staff who gave a woman an intravenous opioid narcotic just before she got behind the wheel of a car. The woman crossed over a double-yellow line and crashed into a bus, injuring the plaintiff.
The bus driver contends in his lawsuit that the crash could have been avoided if the doctors and physician’s aides had properly warned the woman of the dangers of drugged driving.
The Court of Appeals was divided 4-2 in its decision. Four ruled that medical providers have an obligation to warn their patients of potential dangers involved in taking any prescription drugs, and the other two that were against reinstating the lawsuit argued that the burden is wholly on the patient.
Dangers of Drugged Driving
According to the Institute for Behavior and Health, about 20 percent of car accidents in America are directly attributable to drugged driving. More than 6,000 deaths and 400,000 injuries occur every year as a result. Drugged driving is reportedly seven times more prevalent than drunk driving, with 2 percent of drivers testing above the alcohol limit and a whopping 16 percent testing positive for drugs.
Driving under the influence of prescription drugs can have the same effect on a driver as driving drunk. For example, 10 mg of Valium is roughly equivalent to having a blood-alcohol content of .10, well over the legal limit. Even over-the-counter drugs such as decongestants and sleeping pills can have residual effects that make focusing on the road a difficult task.
The attorneys at Targan & Pender fight for clients injured in a variety of personal injury cases throughout New Jersey, including Wildwood Crest, Middle Township and Cape May.