March 6, 2001 - Family Gets 8.5 Million Seven Years After Crash.
A Burlington family has been awarded almost $8.5 million after a car accident seven years ago left their son with severe brain injuries.
Scott Dryden needs constant care as a result of the April 10, 1994, accident and will never be able to live independently.
The liability for the award is shared between David Campbell, the 18-year-old drunk driver who died in the accident; his father James, whose uninsured truck was driven by his son; one of Campbell's friends; and the nightclub where the driver was drinking earlier in the evening. The bulk of the award - about $7.2 million - is to cover future care costs for Scott Dryden, who was a 13-year-old passenger in the car Campbell hit. Rod McCaw, 28, a passenger with Scott Dryden, also died.
Justice John Cavarzan of Ontario Superior Court attributed 80 per cent of the accident's liability to David and James Campbell. The Campbells did not defend the civil suit.
Evidence at the civil trial late last year indicated Campbell had almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood when he ran a red light and hit the vehicle in which Dryden and McCaw were passengers at Burloak Dr. and New St. in Burlington.
Cavarzan wrote in his judgment that the crash left Dryden, who was returning home from a Christian music concert, "a 10-year-old in a 20-year-old's body." The judge also ruled Stars Inc., the then-owner of NRG Night Club on Plains Rd. E., to be 15 percent liable. (NRG Night Club is now under new management that has no connection with the case.) Bill Parchem, a friend who bought liquor for the underaged Campbell, was held 5 percent liable.
The ruling confirms that while drunk drivers bear most of the responsibility for their actions, those who provide the alcohol are also responsible for subsequent events.
For the Dryden family, the ruling allows them to move forward with life. "It's been such a long and difficult road with so many curves and bumps," Scott's mother, Charlene Dryden, said yesterday. "Hopefully we'll be able to put what's left of our lives together again."
She said the family's overwhelming purpose has been to ensure Scott's needs are met and the issue of specific liability is not one she has spent time considering.
Cavarzan dismissed the lawsuit against Carey Balzer, a female friend of Campbell's.
Evidence indicated Campbell, known to his friends as a big drinker, had consumed alcohol purchased for him by Parchem and had more to drink at the nightclub before driving erratically and at high speed.
The award breaks down like this: $250,000 in general damages to Scott Dryden; damages of $50,000 to each of his parents, $15,000 to each of his sisters and $1,500 to his grandfather; $841,054 for Scott Dryden's loss of future income; and about $7.2 million for future care costs.
In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident involving a drunk driver, call now at or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.