Tennessee passed a new law requiring any person found guilty of a fatal DUI to pay restitution (child support) to left minor dependents.
Known as the Bentley’s Law, the new law is designed to hold DUI offenders liable for the consequences of killing a parent and guardians.
If a drunk driver kills someone with minors, a car accident lawyer can help hold them responsible for child support. Offenders must also maintain the living standards the dependents were accustomed to.
Specifics of the Bentley’s Law
The Bentley’s Law is a new Tennessee legislation that took effect on January 1st, 2023. Tennessee is the first state to implement such a law, which requires drunken drivers to pay child support should they kill the parent of a minor.
The law was first presented as the Ethan, Hailey, and Bentley’s Law, named after minors who lost their parent to intoxicated drivers. Senate passed the bill unanimously, and the governor signed it into law.
Representative Mark Hall introduced the bill, stating that the mission was to protect the future of children, the most vulnerable resources.
The new law is designed to hold people accountable when they choose to do harm. Drinking under the influence (DUI) is illegal, but offenders get away with easy sentences.
The person responsible for the death that started Bentley’s Law was convicted of vehicular homicide by intoxication. The court sentenced her to 11 years in prison.
Some offenders have gotten away with lesser terms in the past. This has left single parents alone to care for their children after the death of a spouse. This law seeks to provide care for minors who have lost a parent.
Ramifications for Offenders
Drivers found guilty of fatal DUI charges now face heavier consequences, among them paying child support. Offenders face longer jail terms and have up to one year after release to begin making payments (back pay).
If the minors turn 18 years before receiving amounts owed to them, the offender will have a debt. They must continue to pay until the debt is settled.
While the new law can’t heal the wounds of losing a loved one, it can soften the blow and help alleviate financial struggles.
Offenders must pay restitution until the affected child or children turn 18 and graduate from high school. The court determines the amount based on various factors, including the financial needs and resources of the child.
Courts also factor in the financial resources of the surviving parent or guardian to make sure the child gets the lifestyle their deceased parent afforded.
If the child is under the custody of the children’s services department, courts will factor in the state’s financial resources.
Child support also depends on the children’s living standards before losing a parent. If a drunk driver kills a parent or guardian, contact a car accident lawyer promptly.
Working with an experienced Nashville personal injury attorney is the best way to build a strong case.
The goal is to hold offenders accountable for paying for the expenses the deceased would’ve catered to had they been alive. Many other states are considering passing a similar law.
Working With a Car Accident Lawyer
The best way to navigate a car accident case is through an experienced attorney. You can find a car accident lawyer to help you compile a personal injury case and claim damages caused by negligent drivers.
If a drunk driver kills your loved ones, they must pay for their negligence. Tennessee residents can now sue fatal DUI offenders for child support. All you need is a reputable car accident lawyer with experience serving Tennessee residents.