Many of you may remember the 2013 case involving 20-year-old Ethan Couch, who used affluenza in his defense for killing four people in a drunk driving accident. To update, Ethan Couch, the Texas man was released from a Dallas area county jail on April 2nd after serving two additional years in for a revoked probation. In 2013 Couch was just 16 when the car he was driving struck and killed four pedestrians. A psychologist hired by Couch’s family blamed his decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol on his family’s wealth, coining it affluenza. As you may recall, the term and ensuing verdict was ridiculed by the media and the general population alike.
Is Affluenza a Justified Defense?
The Texas teen’s case made national headlines, as it was the first case to ever claim affluenza as a defense. While Couch admitted he was drunk when he killed the four pedestrians at the time of the accident, he just recently has taken responsibility for his actions. The 2013 case was upsetting for numerous reasons, namely that Couch tried to get out of serving time and any accountability based on his wealth. The case could have gone in many different directions, including wrongful death. Many drunk driving accidents turn into wrongful death claims, and there was a discussion from some that Couch should have had the same fate.
Car Accidents Are More Common Than You Think
Car accidents happen every single day in America. According to the National Highway and Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 1.3 million people die in car accidents each year, which equates to 3.287 deaths every day. Furthermore, an additional 20-50 million people are injured in car accidents annually. Each and every time you get into a car you are at risk of getting into an accident, often because of the actions of another driver. There are many distractions out there today – namely smartphones – that have contributed to the increase in the number of car accidents that take place.
The highways in and around Dallas are some of the most dangerous and accident-prone in the country, which is why it is imperative you remain alert when driving. In order to avoid a car accident or a similar fate to that of the four pedestrians killed by Couch in 2013, it is important to educate yourself about everything you can do to avoid an accident. However, this is not always enough and innocent people die because of senseless acts.
The first step in preventing a car accident is to know the most common causes:
● Distracted driving
● Drunk driving
● Reckless driving
● Running red lights or stop signs
● Impaired vision when driving at night
● Design defects with the car
● Unsafe lane changes
● Wrong-way driving
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Dallas, please contact the attorneys at Shamieh Law. While cases like the affluenza teen are rare, there are numerous extenuating circumstances that can impact a car accident case. If you think you have a wrongful death lawsuit on your hands, we can help. Please contact us today to learn more about our Dallas car wreck attorneys and what we can do for you.