When a drunk driver causes a serious accident that leaves someone injured or dead, that driver should expect to be held accountable. So should the restaurant or person that serves the individual and then lets that person get behind the wheel. When they don’t they are not only displaying disregard for the community they serve, but it stands as a violation of Pennsylvania’s Liquor Code’s dram shop law.
Money is not a remedy for restoring the victims to wholeness. Nothing can really do that, especially if a loved one has been killed in a collision with a person driving under the influence. But the financial compensation may help establish a legacy that keeps the fatal victim’s name alive in people’s memories and help injured victims with their long-term physical needs.
Such a measure of accountability appears to be in the offing in connection with a December 2010 accident that killed a 7-year-old girl, triggered a miscarriage of an expected child and left the mother disabled and unable to work. According to the family’s attorney, a settlement has been reached with the insurance companies of the driver and the South Side restaurant that served the driver the night of the crash.
The amount of the settlement is said to be $15.6 million and it’s expected to get the approval of an Allegheny County judge shortly.
According to the plaintiff’s lawyer, the driver had downed at least a half-dozen liters of beer and some hard liquor the night of the accident. He allegedly only stopped after vomiting all over a table. Then he left. At the time he crashed into the vehicle carrying the pregnant woman and her child, the drunk driver was said to be going more than 65 mph in a 25 mph construction zone.
The driver has since pleaded guilty to homicide by vehicle while DUI and is serving a term of from six to 12 years in prison.
Besides paying on the dram shop settlement, the restaurant in question reportedly will issue a public apology and make policy changes to see that patrons aren’t allowed to drink and drive in the future.
Source: TribLIVE.com, “South Park family to receive $15.6 million settlement in fatal drunken-driving case,” Tom Fontaine, May 7, 2013