Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Illinois

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Making you whole again after someone else's terrible decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Chicago, Illinois

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Chicago and Illinois. If a selfish and irresponsible drunk driver injured you or a family member, call the Chicago-based Illinois drunk driving accident lawyers now at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free consultation. We serve the injured and vulnerable throughout Illinois by defending their rights and securing them the maximum compensation they are owed.

You can follow all the rules of the road and do everything right to protect yourself and your loved ones, but reckless drivers can still change your life in an instant. Whether you were on your way to a sports game, driving home from dinner or just running errands, all of a sudden your entire life was upended when you did nothing wrong. The Illinois drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have dedicated their lives to helping people like you get peace, justice and full financial recoveries when you may be feeling they have nowhere to turn. We know the medical bills are piling up, you are losing time off work and your life is not the same as it was just a short while ago. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the commitment, expertise and aggressive legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our 30 years of experience, we have helped secure over $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Chicago and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you receive the settlement check you deserve.

If you were injured by a reckless and irresponsible drunk driver, see how much your claim may be worth by using our free personal injury calculator.

What Can Illinois Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely file charges against the drunk driver who caused the accident. Still, a personal injury lawyer can help hold the drunk driver accountable and civil court and get you compensation for your injuries. Skilled, experienced and tenacious drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get justice and the best possible financial recovery by:

  • Investigating your claim fully, including acquiring police reports, eyewitness testimony and medical records
  • Ensuring you get the full medical treatment you need to recover
  • Consulting with economic and medical experts to precisely value your damages
  • Combating the tricks insurance companies use to devalue your claim
  • Proving that the other driver was drunk and caused your injuries
  • Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance adjuster
  • Filing a lawsuit when the insurance company is not being fair
  • Taking your case to court if we cannot secure a fair settlement in mediation
  • Standing by your side and fighting on your behalf until you are made whole again

At Burger Law, we have over 30 years of experience handling all types of auto accident claims and getting full compensation for our clients.

Do I Need an Illinois Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer for My Claim?

That depends on the specifics of your case, and if you have never been injured in an accident before it may be difficult to gauge when to hire a personal injury lawyer. If the driver accepts blame and your injuries are minor and only require a quick trip to the emergency room, you may very well be able to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company. However, there are often many good reasons you will want a drunk driving accident lawyer on your side:

  • The other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who cause accidents are likely looking at criminal charges as well, and may be motivated not to cooperate in order to not face fines, a suspended license and possibly jail time. While a good defense lawyer may be able to get a drunk driver off on criminal charges, you can still sue a drunk driver if they were found not guilty in criminal court. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to obtain key evidence and cross-examine the drunk driver in a deposition in order to prove that they were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance company is not being fair. While you would like to think insurance companies would recognize their obligation when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, that is not always the case. Even if they admit liability, they might try to say your injuries are pre-existing, they only have to pay for some of your medical care or that they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. Those are all lies, and a knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyer will not let them get away with them.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is clearly liable, other parties may be at fault, such as a restaurant that overserved them. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. This is especially important when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries are severe and/or require ongoing care. The more severe your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more difficult, and makes it more likely the insurance company will try to claim they do not have to pay for all of your medical expenses. Aggressive and compassionate drunk driving accident lawyers will not only be able to calculate and demand full compensation, but we can connect you to trusted physicians to make sure you get the medical treatment you need.

At Burger Law, our consultations and initial investigations are free. Call us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak directly to a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar with Illinois laws who will be honest with you about whether the insurance company is offering a fair settlement and how much value we can add to your claim.

How Common is Drunk Driving in Illinois and the U.S.?

Drunk driving statistics can be pretty sobering. Every day 28 people die in accidents caused by drunk drivers, or about one person every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily been on the decline since 1982, drunk drivers still account for 29% of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly helped, some reckless Chicago and Illinois individuals still make the irresponsible and terrible to put others at risk just so they can have a good time and avoid paying for an Uber. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you deserve to be fairly compensated with a full recovery and the negligent driver needs to pay for breaking the rules. The Chicago and Illinois drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will fight to make sure that you receive maximum compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. We know the catastrophic impact a drunk driving crash can have on you and your family and we will not rest until all of your damages are paid for.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts states that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved alcohol. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, 37.1 percent tested positive.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Illinois Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08% blood alcohol concentration, even a level of just .02% is enough to significantly impair someone's ability to drive. At .02% blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks simultaneously, a change in mood and loss of judgment. At .05% - the product of about three drinks - a driver experienced reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering and a slower response to emergency situations. It is imperative to exercise great caution and always have someone else drive if you have been drinking. Unfortunately, sometimes we can follow all the rules ourselves and still experience the devastating consequences of a reckless Chicago motorist disregarding your safety, driving drunk and injuring you or a loved one. Knowing that the negligent driver will likely face criminal charges, steep fees, restrictions on their license and possibly jail time is not enough. You need the knowledgeable and talented Illinois drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to make sure you recover fair compensation for all of your damages. If a drunk driver injured you or a family member, call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to discuss your options and start on the path to healing and being made whole again.

Drunk Driving Laws in Illinois and Chicago

According to 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a Class A Misdemeanor. However, a DUI becomes "aggravated driving under the influence" and a Class 4 Felony if:

  • The driver had more than two previous DUI offenses
  • The driver caused a motor vehicle accident that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another
  • The driver caused an accident in school zone that resulted in bodily harm

Third and fourth violations are Class 2 Felonies, a fifth violation is a Class 1 Felony, and sixth and subsequent violations are Class X Felonies.

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Illinois?

Typically, when you are proving negligence in a personal injury claim, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers must prove the following five elements:

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant had a responsibility toward you to keep you safe.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant failed or was negligent in that duty.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident caused your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the defendant's negligence caused the accident that caused your injuries.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like medical bills and lost wages as well as pain and suffering. It is important to note that in personal injury claims you cannot receive compensation for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

There are two aspects that make drunk driving accident claims different from most other personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that drivers are to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with pedestrians or other vehicles. Meaning a driver automatically owed you a duty of care. Secondly, the legal doctrine of negligence per se stipulates that anyone who violates a state statute is automatically considered to have breached their duty of care and is negligent as a matter of law. Therefore, in drunk driving cases the first two elements are taken care of as long as you have evidence that the driver was driving drunk. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to prove at that point is that the accident caused your injuries and that you incurred losses as a result.

While it may seem like that makes a drunk driving case a slam-dunk, the truth is that many drunk drivers try to avoid taking responsibility and their insurance company will do what they can to help them. That is why it is crucial to have dedicated and experienced Illinois drunk drunk driving accident lawyers by your side to get the best results in your claim.

Is Anybody Else Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Illinois?

The driver is clearly liable for their selfish decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers well-versed in Illinois law will be able to conduct a full investigation and determine if any of the other following parties share liability:

A Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Many states have a dram shop rule wherein you can sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if the accident caused you injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are laid out in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law is different from many other states' in that your drunk driving accident lawyers do not have to prove the vendor did anything wrong, such as sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or to someone underage. They just have to prove:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate through security footage, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the patron they sold to was responsible for the drunk driving accident
  • That the vendor is responsible for the patron being drunk

You can only sue a social host — meaning someone who holds a private party and furnishes liquor to a guest — if the person who caused your accident was under the age of 21 and becomes drunk at the party.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller sets dram shop liability limits on how much compensation you can receive in a dram shop case. As of Jan. 20, 2022, those limits are $77,787.30 for each person incurring damages, or $95,073.37 if the accident resulted in loss of support or loss of society because of the wrongful death of a loved one.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the vehicle, you may be able to make a claim against the owner. In a negligent entrustment case, it is negligent to permit a third person to use a thing or to engage in an activity which is under the control of the actor if that would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. In a drunk driving accident case in Illinois, that means that you must show that the owner of the vehicle purposely gave the keys to the drunk driver, and that the owner knew or should have known that the driver had had to much too drink.

The Driver's Employer

If you were injured by a commercial driver, such as in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, you may be able to make a claim against the company that hired and directed the driver. Examples of negligence on the part of the employer could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Illinois drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your claim. Doing so will not only make sure every liable party is held accountable, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

What Compensation Can I Recover for My Illinois Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

The civil court system in the United States is based on the principle of making one whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone injures you, you should be compensated to the extent that returns you to your state before the other person's negligence. In most car accident claims, for example a simple fender-bender, that might mean paying for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the pain involved with rehabilitating from a whiplash or lower back injury for a few months. In the worst cases, for example if you become paralyzed or lose a loved one, no amount of money can truly compensate you, but the financial recovery should be great enough to provide a least some sense of comfort and justice.

You can typically recover three types of damages in a personal injury claim:

  1. Economic damages — This refers to the total sum of the money you either lost out on or had to spend because of your injuries. It is a firm, objective dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — This includes any urgent care, surgeries, medications, chiropractic or physical therapy appointments and assistive devices such as crutches or wheelchairs. You will also be reimbursed for any treatment, joint replacements or replacement assistive devices you may need in the future.
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity — You will receive the full amount of the wages you lost from not being able to work while you recovered. If your injury resulted in a disability that no longer allows you to work, we will also help you receive compensation for the money you would have earned but are no longer able to.
    • Out-of-pocket expenses — If you had to pay for Uber or gas to and from medical appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, you need to be compensated for that too.

    In the case of future medical expenses or lost earning capacity, drunk driving accident lawyers will refer to their network of economic experts to be able to precisely account for inflation.

  2. Noneconomic damages 735 ILCS 5/2-1115.2 defines noneconomic damages as "intangible" damages, "including but not limited to:"
    • Pain and suffering refers to the physical and emotional hardships you have been put through, which can include anything from difficulty sleeping in certain positions to having PTSD.
    • Disability if you have permanent physical or cognitive difficulties because of the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your spouse or significant other from the affection, companionship and intimate relationships you once shared.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same guidance, advice and care that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury claims, but we always seek them in drunk driving claims. Punitive damages are meant to punish the drunk driver and deter future misbehavior. Pursuant to Missouri Revised Statute §510.261, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can seek punitive damages in personal injury claims if you can show "by clear and convincing evidence" that the defendant acted with "deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of other." At Burger Law, we believe that anyone who gets behind the wheel while drunk knows exactly how reckless they are being.

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Chicago, Illinois Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including reckless drivers who do not want to take responsibility for their actions and resistant insurance companies who care more about their profits than doing the right thing. That is why each of our Chicago-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their lives to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV or on billboards. When we are not investigating claims or in the courtroom defending the rights of our clients, our drunk driving accident lawyers are consistently honing our negotiation, litigation and trial skills to get the best results for our clients throughout Illinois. We know you deserve it because we know you did nothing to put yourself in this situation; someone else's horrible decisions did. For expert, compassionate and tenacious representation and the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Illinois drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.

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