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Family grateful for Christmas despite hardship

A northeastern Ohio family will be together for Christmas this year after a drunk driver destroyed their home and critically injured several family members last December. They are grateful to be alive and together to celebrate the holidays, even though they are struggling with ongoing surgeries, physical therapy and medical bills.

The family of five was watching television one evening when a man with a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit barreled into their home. One of the family's children, a 3-year-old boy, was pinned under the driver's car for several hours while rescuers tried to free him. He was placed in a coma and remained in the hospital for nearly three months. He suffers from a brain injury that affects his speech, and he requires ongoing physical and emotional therapy.

The boy's father, who had been working in shipping, suffered several broken bones requiring surgery. His recovery was complicated by infections and failed surgeries. Even a year later, he is unable to use his arm and shoulder properly. He is scheduled for one more surgery and then intensive physical therapy to restore function in his arm.

The family hoped that the after the driver was sentenced in court last month, they would get some help with the mountain of medical bills and expenses they incurred over the past year. The driver was ordered to pay restitution of $62,000, but the money will come in slowly over a long time as the man serves his 16-year sentence, and it will not be enough to cover ongoing therapy or to rebuild the family's home.

Families that find themselves with insurmountable medical debt sometimes feel overwhelmed, especially during the holidays. If you have high unpaid medical bills, consultation with a bankruptcy attorney can help you explore some options for relief and peace of mind. 

Source: The News-Herald, "Family struggles to recover after drunken driver crashed into their Mentor home," Matt Skrajner, Nov. 28, 2013

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