Americans across the country look forward to weekends as a time to catch up with family and friends, go out for dinner, see a film or enjoy a couple of carefree days at home before heading back to work and school.
Unfortunately, fatality statistics too often register an uptick in motor vehicle accidents when some weekend revelers overindulge and cross into the red zone.
A tragic weekend accident
Tossed out of a bar on a Friday night for belligerent and combative behavior, a 21-year-old man and his girlfriend entered his Dodge Durango and sped off. A police officer followed them. The officer stopped near the intersection of U.S. 98 and Country Road 283 by Grayton Beach. Extensive debris from two demolished vehicles littered the pavement.
The inebriated driver did not slow down at the red light. Speeding, he hit an SUV heading east on U.S. Highway 98. The SUV driver, along with his wife, died at the scene, as did the young man who caused the accident. Life-Flight transported his 25-year-old girlfriend, in critical condition, to the nearest trauma center. She suffered multiple broken bones and severe internal injuries.
GoFundMe accounts are not always smart
The young woman lived, although her horrific injuries required several operations over the following days and weeks. Meanwhile, her friends set up a GoFundMe account in her name requesting $30,000.
Well-meaning people may not realize that large GoFundMe amounts attract IRS scrutiny. GoFundMe sends a Form 1099 to the recipient, which can trigger a massive tax bill. One man discovered that $50,000 from a GoFundMe account made him liable for $30,000 in IRS taxes.
Seemingly harmless activities such as setting up GoFundMe accounts may render the recipient ineligible for Social Security Disability, Medicaid, or other assistance and benefits. The best way to assist a friend in distress is to help them find local representation with the education, knowledge and experience to protect their interests. The injured party will have the best chance to navigate complicated issues that can arise from a catastrophic motor vehicle injury.