Sunday, January 01, 2012

And Speaking of a Sense of Entitlement - Drunk Drivers Sues for Medical Expenses

Chelsea Hess, a 22-year-old from South Carolina, is suing the county and a local sports bar to cover her medical expenses after a car accident left her paralyzed.  Ms. Hess was 20 at the time of the accident.  After spending several hours in bar drinking and playing pool she got into her car to drive home without putting on her seat belt.  

Ms. Hess and her attorney have decided that this is the responsibility of the bar, the bartender, and the county.  Apparently, she bares no responsibility at all.  The court documents show that she feels that she should have carded and refused service of the alcohol, the bartender should have also known that she may have been drinking before reaching the sports bar, and then of course, they should have also realized that she was unable to drive due to her drinking.  
'The bartender failed to attempt to ascertain whether or not plaintiff was already impaired by alcohol consumption when she purchased the alcoholic beverage and made sale to plaintiff even though she was unable to legally purchase the alcoholic beverage, and notwithstanding the possibility that she was already impaired by alcohol consumption,
She then follows all this up with county being responsible for the road saying it has not been properly maintained.  
'suddenly dropped off into a large unmaintained area on the shoulder of Alljoj Road, which caused plaintiff to lose control of her vehicle and causing her to roll the vehicle off the side of the road.'
So let me get this straight, a woman who is legally an adult bares no responsibility for going into the bar and ordering the drinks even though it was illegal.  It is all the bartender's fault, even when apparently they are admitting that she had been drinking before even reaching that bar.   Then she gets into her car knowing that she had been drinking and ends up driving on the shoulder of the roadway, then loses control of her car.  She crashes and because she wasn't wearing a seat belt she was ejected from the car and her injuries have left her paralyzed for life.  But that is the fault of the county.  It has nothing to do with her own reckless behavior.  It couldn't possibly be that her own bad choices caused this tragic accident.  

Yes, it is sad that she will spend the rest of her life in wheelchair.  That must be a difficult thing for a young person to face.  But, that doesn't change the fact that she made some very poor choices that evening.  The county didn't force her to drive her car, she did that all on her own.  The bartender didn't force her to drink any of those drinks.  While I agree that bars should be vigilant about making sure that who they are serving is of age, it isn't the sole responsibility of the bartender.  

It seems that young woman didn't learn a great deal from almost dying.  She made choices.  Very bad choices.  She has to learn to live with consequences of those choices and stop putting the blame on others.  Her life is not over.  She can do many great things with her life while in that wheelchair.  It is high time that she accept her fate, take responsibility for her actions, and get on with her life.  

Boy, do we need tort reform.

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