A recent Indiana Supreme Court decision highlighted the dangers of mixing certain medications with driving. In Manley, et al v. Sherer, et al., No. 59S01-1205-PL-249 (Ind. 2013), the driver struck Plaintiff, Mary Manley, head-on. At the scene, the driver told Ms. Manley she “should not be driving due to her medical condition.” The driver’s physician, Dr. Sherer, informed the prosecuting attorney the driver had several medical conditions that when combined with the medications prescribed by Dr. Sherer, may have contributed to the accident.
Ms. Manley and her husband sued Dr. Sherer for the failure to warn the driver not to drive while taking the prescribed medication. In reversing a summary judgment in favor of Dr. Sherer, the Supreme Court held the usual 2 year statute of limitations to file her case did not apply because it was unclear when Ms. Manley knew she had a medical malpractice case.
In addition, the tolling provision of I.C. §34-18-7-3(a) was upheld. This provision tolls the 2 year statute of limitations defense for physicians when a plaintiff files their proposed medical malpractice complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance.
Medications mixed with driving are a concern in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 16 percent of weekend nighttime driers (roughly 1 in 6) tested positive for illicit drugs or medications. 2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers: Drug Results, U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, December 2009. Of this number 3.9% were positive for medications and 1.1% were positive for a combination of illegal drugs and medications.