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Holding employers accountable for employees' stoned driving

Here in Colorado, one of the big issues since the legalization of marijuana has been to address the potential ramifications of marijuana use by drivers. This issue includes the problem of drugged driving as well as personal injury liability when a drugged driver causes an accident. The risk of marijuana-induced accidents has always been around, of course, but the concern is that the change in legal status could make the problem more prominent.

For employers, the issue is an important one, since they can open themselves up to liability if they hire employees who use marijuana on the job, not to mention increased insurance rates and potentially decreased productivity from workers, at least according to some. Exactly how this issue plays out in the future remains to be seen.

In terms of personal injury liability, accident victims need to know that they may indeed have the ability to hold an employer liable for an employee's car crash if the crash occurred in the course of the employee's work-related duties. One such form of liability, referred to as respondeat superior, holds that the employee must have been engaging in activities within the scope of his or her employment or agency at the time of the crash. Respondeat superior may not be the only way of holding an employer liable for an employee's car accident, but it is an important one.

Those who have been involved in an accident involving a drugged driver should always work with an experienced attorney to make sure they build a solid case that allows them to hold all responsible parties liable and to maximize their recovery of damages.

Source: Cleveland.com, "Legal marijuana sparks liability fears for Colorado employers (photos)," Sabrina Eaton, June 24, 2015.

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