Can I sue the guy who caused an auto accident if it resulted in the loss of my job?

A vehicle struck my work truck and caused an accident. Even though it was no fault of my own, the company had me take a drug test.I smoke weed on my own time on occasion and had about a week before this accident (due to chronic back and hip pain) so the test came back positive. Can I sue for loss of my job?

Asked on January 4, 2011 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not sue for  this. The accident did not cause you to lose your job--your own drug use did. The other driver, for example, did not make you smoke marijuana or cause you to have traces of it in your bloodstream. That means that there is no causal's no more the other driver's fault than if you were fired because after the accident they did a routine check of your personal file and discovered you had lied on your resume. If you lost any salary or work time directly due to the  injury (e.g. being unable to work). or incurred medical bills, or have suffered some serious or permanent disability, etc., that you can sue for...but not for losing a job because you use illegal drugs.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You know, this is America and people sue for almost every reason under the sun.  But I really think that your case would not really hold much weight and would be dismissed upon a motion by the defendant or the defendant's attorney.   Although there could be an argument that the accidentwas the "proximate cause" of your losing your job, there is no way that the party who hit you could have "foreseen" that you were a part time weed smoker and that you would lose your job because of a rule regarding a mandatory drug test. In other words, it was not a foreseeable result of the accident.  Moreover, what you did was illegal and no court in the world is going to allow you to be compensated for what was ultimately illegal activity.   

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