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Penalties for drunk driving accidents are not always fair

Missouri readers are most likely well aware that driving under the influence is not only against the law, but it is extremely dangerous. The victims of drunk driving accidents often hope that impaired drivers will face criminal penalties for their actions. However, sometimes, drunk drivers who are believed to be responsible for accidents face minor penalties, if any at all.

This is the reality that one Missouri mother is currently facing. The man who was driving under the influence when his vehicle hit one occupied by members of her family, including her son, received five years' probation. Meanwhile, her 5-year-old son -- who was in the car at the time -- will require at least two more surgeries. His left arm was severed in the crash, and he has already endured four surgical procedures.

Surgeons were able to reattach it, but that was not the end of his plight. It is hoped that the additional surgeries will restore up to 80 percent of his range of motion, so that he will be able to use his arm and/or hand. It is likely that he will have issues with it for the rest of his life.

This boy's mother retains the right to file a personal injury claim against the driver responsible for her son's injuries. If she successfully establishes that the driver's negligence led to her son's current condition -- and proof the criminal conviction may be enough to do so -- a Missouri court may award damages similar to those in other drunk driving accidents. Any restitution received could help with the child's current and future medical costs, along with other damages he has incurred -- and will most likely incur in the future.

Source:, "'It's not fair': Mother of boy injured in drunk driving crash angered by sentence", Dan Greenwald, Dec. 21, 2015

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