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17May/13Off

Drunk Driver Not Given Any Legal Breaks

On December 12, 2008, Ashley Schultz drove her 2001 BMW up the off ramp of the I-5 Northbound freeway and collided with an Acura. The crash left her paralyzed, and since then Schultz has been attempting to place blame on someone else.

The accident caused serious bodily injury to Schultz. She broke many bones, including her C4 and C5 vertebrae, and she became a quadriplegic. The other driver was left unharmed for the most part, so she was not faced with criminal charges regarding a third party injury; but she was convicted of drunk driving and fourth degree assault. She was sentenced to two days in jail and one year probation.

After leaving the restaurant, Schultz went to drive home. She turned onto the off ramp at Southwest River Parkway and Harbor Drive and crashed into the Acura immediately. Her blood alcohol content was recorded at .24% on site – three times the legal limit.

Schultz explains that on the evening of her accident, she was having dinner and drinks with work associates. She felt pressured to join in on the drinking and felt that the restaurant over served her and failed to call her taxi. Because of those factors, she has attempted to sue her employer and the restaurant at which she ate the night of her accident for compensation due to her injuries.

Schultz originally filed a lawsuit against her company for denying her worker’s compensation; but the courts ruled in favor of O’Brien Constructors because her injuries did not arise out of her employment. She explains that she was at a work function when she consumed the drinks, but she was really just out with coworkers and the situation was not work-related.

In 2010, she filed a lawsuit against La Costita Mexican Restaurant claiming that it did not act responsibly as it did not stop serving her drinks or call her a cab when it was evident that she had drunk to inebriation. She requested $18.7 million in her claim.

Schultz’s medical bills in 2010 had already totaled to about $900,000, and her future care costs were estimated to be an additional $5 million.

The courts ruled in favor of the restaurant though, and she lost once more. The ruling was partially based on a previous decision made in 2001 where the law then banned customers who voluntarily drink to collect money from restaurants/bars after being injured. Schultz claims that she didn’t voluntarily drink and that her boss was buying her too many drinks, but the court still found her at fault.

She is still seeking money in any way that she can. Though the restaurant is out of the case and she cannot receive worker’s compensation, she is still going after her employers and the coworkers that were with her that night because they supplied the alcohol for her. Schultz expresses how she only went out that night because she did not want to lose her job and felt pressured for them to like her.

It is unknown currently what will happen, but based on her record it is likely that she will not receive the compensation for which she is hoping. It is very rare that a person who was the drunk driver in an accident files lawsuits for damages, so the outcome of this will be interesting. Though everyone, including the restaurant, feels bad for Schultz and her injuries; it cannot be denied that the fault lies with her.

If you or someone you know has been in accident, contact AAG today.

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