We currently represent a young married couple and their case just took a bizarre turn. They had been visiting the wife’s parents on Easter Sunday, and around 7pm were driving home with their 5 children in their minivan. They had traveled less than 2 miles up the road when a drunk driver blew a stop sign, T-Boned their minivan, and sent both vehicles rolling into a corn field. The at fault driver refused to be tested for alcohol, but given his severe injuries he had to be life flighted, and as a result his blood was taken. His blood alcohol level was well above the legal limit. The impact was so devastating that two life flights were scrambled to the scene and six local fire departments sent squads. The injuries to the family ranged from minor cuts and bruises to several fractured bones.
The insurance company for the drunk driver has refused to adequately compensate the family. And startlingly, it has now filed a counterclaim against the family seeking money damages from them for the drunk driver in the event that a verdict is returned against him. This cockeyed theory is based on the idea that somehow, if it turns out in the course of the case that any of the children were not properly secured in a seat, the victims of this incident owe the drunk driver money. Again, suit has just been filed and no testimony has been taken. There is no evidence of any child being improperly restrained; this is just a “Hail Mary” the Defendant has heaved into the courthouse.
Defendants have many rights under the law. They can raise various defenses, and these range from “you have the wrong person” to “you ran out of time to file your claim” to things like “you failed to mitigate your damages by not wearing a seatbelt.” That’s all well and good. But to have a Defendant– a drunk driver no less– seek money damages from the family whose lives he hurt; that’s a new low. Stay tuned for the outcome of this case.