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Boston Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > The Role of Prescription Medicine in Car Accidents

The Role of Prescription Medicine in Car Accidents


If you are the one that causes a car accident, can you sue? The answer is generally no, as you are the one at fault. But there is one situation where you may be able to sue and receive compensation for injuries that you may have suffered: When and if you were under the influence of certain medications.

Side Effects and Drowsiness

Many medications have a known side effect of drowsiness. And while it is certainly reasonable to expect this kind of side effect to wear off over the course of 5, 10, or 12 hours, in many cases those side effects don’t wear off—they linger, longer than expected, leading to drowsiness even the morning after the medication is taken.

As a result, and often not aware of the side effects, users of these medications get behind the wheel of a car, and cause accidents.

Ambien Effects

In fact, this phenomenon is so common that a well known defense to DUI is called an “Ambien Defense,” named after Ambien, a popular sleep drug, with known side effects of drowsiness that linger long after the medication has been taken.

Ambien in fact had such an effect, that it even caused users to not only walk in their sleep overnight, but to overeat, or get behind the wheel and drive while under the influence of the drug. Users reported that they were in a state of “semi consciousness,” where they were neither fully awake, but also, clearly, not fully asleep.

Lawsuits were filed against Ambien, and the end result were stronger warnings on the drug labels warning users of the sleep walking (driving) effects, and of the lingering drowsiness that may occur.

Know Your Medicines

Of course, it is incumbent on all of us to know what medicines we’re taking, to know what the side effects are, and to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car while on those medicines. But many medicines, both prescription and over the counter, do a poor job of warning people about these after effects, or being specific in how long the medicine can expect to remain in the users’ system.

If Someone Injures You While on Medicine

If you are not the user of the medicine, but someone who has been injured by someone else who may have used the medicine, it is worth asking whether the negligent driver was under the influence of a medicine, or may have taken any medication in the previous 24 hours.

Often, finding out that a driver was using a medicine that causes drowsiness, can help a victim prove that another driver actually caused a car accident, even when that driver claims that he or she did nothing wrong.

Were you injured by an unknown side effect or medication? Or were you injured by someone else who was under the influence of prescription medicine? Call our Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 for an initial evaluation of your case.




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