It was the accident that shook the nation: a so-called case of “affluenza” that supposedly led to the irresponsible and negligent actions of a teen. Intoxicated at a rate of three times the legal limit, the DWI accident he caused left four dead and one severely injured. But it was not just the loss that had evoked emotion from one side of the country to the other.
The purported excuse – that his decision was nothing more than a product of poor parenting – discounted the losses experienced by the families whose lives were forever changed that day. His lack of consequence only added insult to injury. But if there was one positive lesson learned from this accident, it was that, even when a criminal case falls short, victims of DWI accidents may still seek compensation.
The Bitter Sting of the “Affluenza” Criminal Case
Despite an admission of guilt, despite all the lives that were lost in the accident, and despite the life-altering injuries sustained by one victim, the criminal sentencing of the teen fell short of what many had expected. Labeled as a case of “affluenza,” reportedly brought on by a lack of parental supervision and boundaries, the teen received time in a rehabilitation center and 10 years of probation. This was a stark contrast to the prosecution’s request of 20 years in prison. The teen’s status as a minor may have been a factor in the judge’s decision, but it did not lessen the blow for the surviving families of the victims. Thankfully, they did not need a long-term prison sentence to seek compensation for their losses.
Civil Cases Against Teen’s Family Settled for Undisclosed Amounts
While the amounts have not been made public, those that have sought damages from the teen’s family have reportedly settled. Though far from a replacement for the losses they have experienced, that compensation may have helped to ease the financial burden they experienced in the months after the accident. That is exactly the purpose that such damages are meant to serve. And, because they are independent of any criminal charges, victims may seek these damages, regardless of whether or not the DWI driver was convicted or sentenced for their negligent actions.
Compassionate and Assertive Representation for DWI Accident Victims
At the Bettersworth Law Firm, we understand the depth of your loss. We also know that, despite all that has been taken from you, the insurance companies and even the negligent drivers often do everything they can to weasel out of accountability. This is why we serve as aggressive advocates. We protect your rights, refuse to back down, and take assertive, immediate action on your behalf to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free initial consultation with our New Braunfels DWI accident law firm to learn more. Call us at 830-443-9193 today.