Have you ever gone to work or attended an event while extremely sickened by a cold or flu? Most people have done this at some point, typically to avoid a perceived black mark on their employment history.
Unfortunately, operating a motor vehicle when impacted by an illness is irresponsible (at best) and negligent (at worst). According to research, driving while sick could reduce driving skills by up to 50%.
When an accident caused by an illness injures others, the sick driver may be legally responsible. Here are a couple of situations to consider:
When the effects of the illness make it hard to drive
The symptoms that plague those with the flu (or some colds) include severe fatigue, aches and pain, low energy, fever and ear or sinus pressure to name only a few. Most people cannot function as well as usual when experiencing these and other effects.
It may be possible to hold ill drivers legally liable for crash injuries if they knew they were sick and chose to drive anyway.
When the effects of medication for an illness make it hard to drive
Most people take some form of over-the-counter drugs to help them cope with flu and cold symptoms. However, these medicines often lead to side effects that make operating motor vehicles hazardous.
Flu drugs can cause drowsiness, vertigo, dizziness and even more fatigue, increasing the odds of having a vehicle accident. Those who willfully consume flu meds before driving may have to foot the bill for victim injuries in a crash scenario.
The takeaway? Never assume you cannot obtain restitution after a car accident, even when the lack of liability seems clear. With experienced legal guidance, you can determine what steps to take to maximize your injury compensation under Virginia law.