In a development that probably surprises no one, local authorities fear that “affluenza” teen and former New Yorker Ethan Couch violated his probation and is on the run with his mother.
After video surfaced of Mr. Couch apparently attending a party where alcohol was served – a violation of his conditional supervised release – the 19-year-old failed to report to his probation officer and is now officially missing. His mother disappeared at about the same time, and Tarrant County, Texas authorities believe the two may be working together to elude the long arm of the law.
In 2013, then-16-year-old Ethan Couch received ten years’ probation for a fatal DUI crash that killed four people, after his attorneys convinced the judge that the teen did not know right from wrong due to his privileged upbringing.
Third Party Liability
If alcohol is involved in a New York car wreck, there is a very good chance that at least one third party may also be at least partly responsible for the plaintiff’s damages. Since so many drivers are either uninsured or underinsured, third party liability is often an important tool when it comes to obtaining full and fair compensation.
If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) obtained alcohol via a commercial sale at a bar, club, restaurant, or other establishment, the dram shop law may apply. To recover damages from such an establishment, the plaintiff must prove:
- Unlawful Sale: Under the law, a transaction is illegal if the customer was “actually or apparently” under 21 or “visibly” intoxicated.
- Caused or Contributed: The alcohol does not have to be the sole cause of the driver’s intoxication, or even the primary cause. However, the more alcohol that was sold, the stronger the case.
The plaintiff must also prove that the intoxicated driver caused a physical injury.
New York also has a social host liability law that applies if the tortfeasor was under 21. Liability attaches to “unlawfully furnishing to or unlawfully assisting in procuring alcoholic beverages” if that action leads to intoxication or impairment.
Negligent undertaking is a third possible theory. These actions are common in municipal law. The idea is that a person cannot voluntarily assume a duty, such as requiring inebriated party guests to stay the night, and then abandon that duty by allowing the intoxicated guests to drive away.
Proner & Proner is committed to maximum compensation for victims. To obtain assistance in this area, contact us today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.