Michael Ford

Pot usage could impact benefits in accidents: Michael Lesage

A surge in impairment cases and increased detection of drug use could have an impact on the benefits and damages recovered by those involved in accidents, Toronto litigator Michael Lesage tells Law Times

“In terms of accident benefits, entitlement to income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits and other expenses are excluded by s. 4.4 of the [Ontario Automobile Policy] 1 where the claimant was convicted of a criminal offence involving the operation of an automobile,” Lesage says.

While the federal task force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommends research to detect and establish marijuana impairment levels, the technology isn't readily available, the article explains. 

Lesage, who practises insurance, business law, personal injury, malpractice and other liabilities at Michael's Law Firm, tells Law Times, “Concerning criminal/quasi-criminal penalties, I would imagine the solution ends up looking quite similar to what we currently have in place for alcohol use.

“You can have some in your system, but above a certain level, or if you’re showing visible signs of intoxication, you are subject to various penalties.”

Lesage goes on to say, “I imagine this will be good news for various device makers, who will no doubt make out well selling police various machines guaranteed to detect THC or other compounds, which will likely have widely varying degrees of success and accuracy.”

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