A victim who was paralyzed by the infamous "affluenza" teen driver is set to receive more than $2 million in a settlement for his life-changing injuries.
Sergio E. Molina, 17, was one of 12 people injured when Ethan Couch drunkenly wrecked his pickup and killed a stranded motorist along with three Good Samaritans. According to The Associated Press, Molina has been hospitalized since the accident last June and has only enough movement to smile and blink.
Is this end of Molina's claims?
Insurance Company to Foot the Bill
Molina's family had sued Couch and his family for Sergio Molina's injuries and paralysis, asking for medical expenses and future medical care damages in the millions. The AP reports that the Couch family's liability insurer has agreed to pay more than $1 million in cash and the rest in annuities to a fund set up for Molina's benefit.
It's unclear whether the insurance plan paying out the settlement was the Couch's auto insurance policy (which often has liability insurance tucked in) or a separate policy for these sorts of suits. Either way, the Couches won't be directly paying a dime to the Molinas.
More specifically, $1.6 million will be paid in a lump sum to Molina's special needs trust and "annuities to provide for him in the coming years," reports Reuters.
Other Families Settle With Couch
This isn't the first settlement that the Couches have inked since their son caused the fatal DUI crash. They have already settled with the families of three victims killed in the crash, though the details of those settlements remain confidential.
Part of the benefit of settling outside of court is that the Couches may be able to keep secret the actual dollar amounts involved. As with almost all settlements, in exchange for whatever money the Couches offer the families of the victims, they will be barred from suing over the crash.
These settlements will all likely need to be approved by a judge, who will determine if the agreement was made in fairness and good faith. If a judge does approve Molina's settlement, hopefully the money will be a small comfort and adequate assistance to him and his family.
- Brain-injured teen receives $2 million in 'affluenza' case settlement (CNN)
- 'Affluenza' DWI Case: DA Still Wants Jail Time (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Is Teen's 'Affluenza' DWI Sentence Too Lenient? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Paralyzed Teen's $3.5M Settlement: Why Won't Fla. Pay? (FindLaw's Injured)