$2 Million Settlement to Family of Teen Critically Hurt in DUI Crash
By Dean I. Weitzman, Esq. on May 9th, 2014
Sergio Molina was laying in the bed of a pickup truck being driven by an intoxicated 16-year-old boy on the night of June 15, 2013, when the speeding truck slammed into a vehicle on the side of the road, causing a chain reaction crash that killed four people.
Twelve people were also hurt in the crash in Fort Worth, Texas, that night, including Molina, who was thrown out of the pickup bed by the impact of the collision and landed on his head, causing massive and life-changing injuries.
Now 17, Molina and his family will receive a $2 million settlement to care for the teen, who was paralyzed by the crash and is only able to blink his eyes, according to a May 6 report by The Dallas Star-Telegram.
Molina’s parents, Maria Lemus and Sergio Molina, had sued the family of the teen who was driving the pickup truck, Ethan Couch of Fort Worth, according to the story. Couch’s pickup “swerved in the 1500 block of Burleson-Retta Road in southern Tarrant County, hitting a stranded motorist and three people who had stopped to help her,” the paper reported. “The pickup also plowed into a parked car, sending it into a Volkswagen Beetle driving in the opposite direction. Couch’s pickup flipped and smashed into a tree.”
The settlement calls for the liability insurance company of Couch’s parents, Fred and Tonya Couch, to pay $1.638 million to the Sergio E. Molina Special Needs Trust, the paper said. “The Couches’ insurer also agreed to purchase two sets of annuities to provide payments to the trust, beginning in July, of $1,515 monthly and of $1,837 monthly, both for life and guaranteed for 25 years.”
Settlements have also been made with the families of five of the other injured or killed victims in the crash, the paper reported. One remaining family is waiting for a jury trial in the case.
The pickup’s driver, Ethan Couch, was sentenced to 10 years’ probation and ordered not to drink alcohol, use drugs or drive during that time, the paper reported. He was also ordered to get treatment in a lockdown addiction facility.
The case received much publicity after Couch’s own lawyers “argued the youth suffered from ‘affluenza,‘ a condition where enormous wealth blinded him from responsibilities resulting from his actions,” according to a related story by Reuters. Affluenza, however, is not a diagnosis recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.
Also killed in the crash were Breanna Mitchell, whose car had broken down, and three people who tried to help her with her stranded vehicle, according to Reuters. The other victims who lost their lives that night were Hollie and Shelby Boyles, nearby residents who came out to help; and youth minister Brian Jennings.
Couch’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was more than three times the legal limit for an adult, Reuters reported.
These kinds of cases occur every day when innocent victims are hurt or killed in vehicle accidents through no fault of their own due to the actions or indifference of others. That’s why it is critical to have a legal team on your side that uncovers every fact to bolster your case and maximize your damage award.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one is ever seriously injured in a vehicle incident or accident anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims who die in such tragedies as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-(866) 352-4572 anytime and our experienced, compassionate, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.