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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Who should a mom blame for her son's accident if anyone?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) May 13th, 2010

Say you know a woman Ms “T” who is in a very high octane job, she often has to pass on events her son did. One of which was an important soccer tournament her son wanted her to attend but she had major conference to attend and sent her son to the tournament with her 21 year old cousin. On the way they were hit by a drunk and her son loses a leg. Should she beat herself up for not taking more time to be with her son? Would she be right to blame the cousin because he was the driver? Should she just vent at the drunk and lay it all on her doorstep? Should she be worried her kid will put the blame of his lost leg on her for being too busy with work?

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12 Answers

downtide's avatar

Seems to me that the blame for this particular accident is on the drunk. Suppose she had been there instead of the cousin but at the same time and place. The accident would still have happened regardless.

cazzie's avatar

Wow… too many ‘what if’s there. But the blame should go on the drunk driver for the accident. There is no telling what would have happened if the mother had driven the car or the cousin. They still could have been hit. But a person drunk driving is absolutely in the wrong.

She can beat herself up all she wants for not spending more time with her kid. Maybe this is a wake up call.. What if he had died in the crash. I’m sure she wouldn’t be at his funeral thinking… gee.. if only I had gone to work more….

You can’t dial back the clock. You have to spend each day in a way that you can get up the next day.. look at yourself in the mirror and say.. ‘I’m proud of myself.’

perspicacious's avatar

If the drunk was responsible for the accident, that is where the blame belongs. Every working mother has at one time or another had such a conflict. They just cannot always be avoided. Of course the cousin will feel some guilt, but shouldn’t.

partyparty's avatar

If the drunk was the person who caused the accident, then the blame should lie with them.
You cannot accept responsibility for another persons actions. It happened and it most certainly wasn’t your fault.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

As @downtide said, it’s the drunks fault that the boy lost his leg. I think she’s being too hard on herself, unless she never has time for her son. I know where she’s coming from though; I’ve been beating myself up with the “what ifs” for the last six months.

chamelopotamus's avatar

I dont think it should be about finding blame, but rather finding a remedy that will actually help. I think the terrible things that happen to people balance out the good and can teach us to look closely at things we’re supposed to see and know about. In this presumably hypothetical scenario (given the pretense), the soccer player will learn more about appreciation of his leg by losing it than he would have learned before. And then that will extend to a greater theme in his life, for him to find everything else he needs in his life that he can appreciate more, and he will be an inspiration to others. And blame and unfairness was just a powerful emotional phase that started this journey of learning.

LuckyGuy's avatar

We all know it is the drunk’s fault but generally the “lawyers” advertising on late night TV will say it is the fault of the party with the most money. The car manufacturer: Toyota or any other profitable company.
The mother should spend time trying to help the son.

reverie's avatar

I’m not sure blame is a particularly helpful or constructive thing to look for, in this, or any situation – at least not in the long term.

Obviously, the loss of a limb is a horrifying and tragic event, particularly for a person who is young and just starting out in life. However, we can’t change things that happen to us or the things that we do, and when we are wronged by others, being able to identify who’s fault it is doesn’t really change things either, not in the long term. To me, blame just fosters unhelpful emotions that tend to be retrospectively focused, like regret, shame, and resentment. Whilst it’s totally natural, in a society that values fairness, to be sensitive to unfairness and injustice and thus look to blame when we feel wronged, I don’t think it is healthy to dwell on it for too long.

Others have (in my view, correctly) identified that the drunk driver is probably the one at most fault here. However, I don’t see how making that identification is particularly constructive, in terms of healing both emotionally and physically from what has happened. Of course, it gives the son and mother licence to feel angry at another person who has wronged them, it potentially gives the chance for them to see the state deal out justice, but what both the mother and son will take with them for the rest of their lives is their relationship with each other, and how the son will live with the disability that he now has.

In this situation, the mother has identified concerns about the relationship with her son that existed prior to this accident, and will continue to exist in the future, unless behaviours are changed. I think what’s important for the mother is that she focuses on achieving the improvements in the relationship with her son that she seems to want, and that she does all she can to support him in through this extremely challenging time.

Don’t get me wrong, I think justice is incredibly important and I think it is terribly hard for those who have experienced injustice and terrible harm to move on without really knowing and feeling that justice has been done. All I’m saying is that in the long term, a focus on pointing the finger of blame can keep people stuck in the past, unable to move on in a positive way.

Kayak8's avatar

All has pretty much been said in terms of blame, but Mom will likely get every chance to make up for her absences over the years if she is there for this kid as he goes through this experience, the PT, the OT, the fittings for prosthetics, and the many sports opportunities he can still have before him (not to mention the scholastic and social opportunities normal to a young life). This is a heck of a wakeup call, but he will need her now like he never has before and the long-term relationship that results could be just incredible for both of them if they stay open and communicate with one another on this journey.

For the sake of her cousin who drove the car, I think it is important that she let him know that she doesn’t blame him for this and allows the boys to be there for each other as well. This kid (the young driver) could be eating himself up on the inside.

There is enough guilt to go around in a situation like this and it can be so easily up-ended if folks just talk to each other.

SuperMouse's avatar

Blame the drunk. While the mom doesn’t warrant blame for this accident, she does need to spend some time re-examining her priorities.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s not going to be helpful, productive or useful to “blame” anyone. Best is to deal with the issues at hand and get on with living.

evandad's avatar

The drunk should lose his leg. I know it won’t happen, but I think it should. Incidents like that would decrease dramatically if it was an eye for an eye. All his money should be used for a prosthetic limb and rehab therapy for the child. All his and his insurance company. Both the mother and the cousin will feel guilty about it forever. I doubt the child will have any ill will for them though.

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