Aftermath Continues For Victims Of Teenage Drunk Driver
Victims of drunk drivers rarely ever receive an adequate measure of justice in criminal court. A conviction and a stiff sentence for the offender are often necessary, but they do little to bring closure to victims and their families, and they often do nothing to bring financial compensation. For that, a separate personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is needed.
In recent years, one drunk driving case has been an especially horrendous example of the unreliability of the criminal justice system. The case involved a Texas teenager named Ethan Couch, whose drunk-driving spree killed four people and seriously injured others, including passengers in his own vehicle. When Couch was finally sentenced for his horrible crime, he received only probation and other minor restrictions because a psychologist had convinced the judge that Couch suffered from "affluenza," a condition characterized by disregard for consequences caused by a spoiled upbringing.
For those who have followed the story, Couch has since gotten in further legal trouble by violating his probation, then fleeing the country with his mother. Meanwhile, his victims and their families continue to suffer. One of the passengers in Couch's truck that night was a 16-year-old named Sergio. When the crash occurred, he was thrown from the vehicle and suffered a serious brain injury that has left him permanently and severely disabled. Since the accident, Sergio has been completely unable to speak or move. He can communicate only by blinking.
When a serious traffic accident leaves victims disabled, the financial consequences are often immediate, devastating and lifelong. In many cases, a family member may need to quit their job in order to provide full-time care, which only increases financial strain on the family. Medical bills can soar into the millions, especially when the victim requires a lengthy hospital stay followed by intensive physical therapy.
Judging from news reports, nothing about the Ethan Couch case was handled correctly. Victims and their families have found almost no justice in criminal court and arguably inadequate compensation in civil lawsuits.
Thankfully, not every case turns out this way. Here in Kentucky, drunk driving accident victims and their families often have an easier time pursuing compensation, regardless of how criminal cases are resolved.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driving accident caused by someone else, please discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.