Making you whole again after a drunk driver's reckless decision left you to pick up the pieces

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Carbondale, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Carbondale, IL. If you or a loved one was injured because someone else did not respect your safety and got behind the wheel drunk, call the Carbondale, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free consultation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Carbondale and throughout Illinois by securing them the maximum compensation they are owed.

You can do everything right to protect yourself and your loved ones, but thoughtless drivers can still change your life without warning. Whether you were on your way home for your in-laws or lazily driving around on a Saturday, your life was immediately upended through no fault of your own. The Carbondale, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law to getting the best possible outcomes for our clients and seeing them made whole again. We know the medical bills keep coming in, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and your life is not the same as it before your accident. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the compassions, expertise and unshakable legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of defending the rights of the injured, we have recovered more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Carbondale and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Our initial consultation and investigation is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you get the best possible financial recovery you deserve.

If you were hurt by a careless drunk driver, see how much your claim may be worth by using our free personal injury calculator.

Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois

521 W. Main Street
Suite 201 O
Belleville, IL 62220

Phone: (618) 500-4878

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What Can Carbondale, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely do everything they can to convict a drunk driver criminally. Still, only a personal injury lawyer can get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Skilled, accomplished and aggressive drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get the best possible financial recovery by:

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 Carbondale, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

That depends on the particulars of your case, and if you have never had to hire an attorney before it may be difficult to decide when to hire a personal injury lawyer. If the driver is taking responsibility for his actions and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, 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 injuries are likely looking at criminal charges as well, and may be motivated not to cooperate in order to not be sentenced in criminal court. While a capable 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 their criminal case. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to obtain key evidence in order to hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance adjuster does not want to pay for all of your damages. Ideally insurance companies would realize their duty when one of their policyholders decides to make a selfish decision that winds up injuring you, an insurance adjusters real job is to save the company money, not fairly compensate you. Even in the event that the driver admits liability, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries were not actually caused by the accident or they only have to pay for some of your medical care. Those are all lies, and a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the money you are owed.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is clearly liable, other parties may bear partial responsibility, such as a alcohol vendor that overserved the driver. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify all liable parties. This is especially important when the policy limits are not sufficient to appropriately compensate you.
  • Your injuries need extensive medical treatment. The more serious your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more challenging, and makes it more likely the insurance company will try to claim they do not have to pay for all of your medical expenses. Persistent and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

At Burger Law, we answer all of your questions for free. Contact us now at (314) 500-HURT to talk for a candid conversation with a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar with Illinois laws who will be straightforward with you about whether the insurance company is offering a fair settlement.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Understanding just how bad the problem of drinking and driving can be incredibly sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, adding up to roughly one fatality every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have consistently become less common in the last four decades, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and strict punishments for drunk driving have certainly done wonders for reducing crashes, injuries and deaths, some selfish Carbondale, IL residents still decide to jeopardize others' safety because of a misplaced self-centeredness. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you deserve to be fairly reimbursed with a maximum recovery and the negligent driver needs to be held accountable for breaking the rules. The Carbondale, IL 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.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts reported that almost 20 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved a drunk driver. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of over a third of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Carbondale, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While it is only illegal to drink and drive if your blood alcohol concentration is over .008 percent, a level of only .02 percent is sufficient to significantly impair someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in sight, inability to do two things at once, exaggerated confidence and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - the product of about three drinks - a motorist experiences decreased coordination, inability to trace moving objects, challenges maneuvering and not being able to respond quickly to emergency situations. It is crucial to exercise great caution and find other ways of getting home if you have had too much to drink. Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still experience the horrible and unfair consequences of a reckless Carbondale, IL motorist making a selfish decision, driving drunk and harming you or someone you care about. Just knowing the harsh penalties that come with a DWI conviction does not make you whole again. You need the experienced and skilled Carbondale, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to get you the full financial recovery you deserve. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to discuss your options and begin on the road to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Carbondale and Illinois

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

  • It is a third or subsequent violation
  • An accident occurred that lead to great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that resulted in bodily harm

Other instances in which it is a more serious crime include:

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Carbondale, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the driver had a responsibility to keep you safe.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant did not do what they should have in order to avoid injuring you.
  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 the negligence was the reason you sustained a loss, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as pain and suffering. It is important to note that in personal injury claims you cannot make a claim for for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

There are two factors that set drunk driving accidents apart from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that people who get behind the wheel of a vehicle have an obligation to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with pedestrians or other vehicles. Meaning the first element is a given. Secondly, the legal theory of negligence per se stipulates that anyone who breaks the law 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 show is that the driver caused the accident and your injuries.

While it may seem like that makes a drunk driving case a slam-dunk, drunk drivers often do not want to be held accountable and their insurance companies do what they can to help their profits. That is why it is vital to have dedicated and talented Carbondale, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up for you and fight until you get the best results in your claim.

Is Anybody Else Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Carbondale, IL?

It is important to find all liable parties, especially if the driver has policy limits that do not fully compensate you for your damages. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to make a claim against:

A Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Dram shop laws permit you to sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if you were 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. You just have to prove:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can show through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the customer they sold to was responsible for the drunk driving accident
  • That the the patron became inebriated because of the alcohol that was sold to him

You can only sue a social host — meaning someone who supplies their private guests with alcohol — if the driver at fault for your injuries was not of legal age to drink and became inebriated at the party.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller places dram shop liability limits on the maximum amount of money a person or organization can be required to pay in a dram shop claim. As of Jan. 20, 2022, those limits are $77,787.30 for each person incurring damages, or $95,073.37 if the accident led to loss of support or loss of society because of the wrongful death of a loved one.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If you were injured by a vehicle that was not being driven by the owner, the owner may also owe you compensation. In a negligent entrustment case, a person may be liable if they permit someone else to use a thing 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 Carbondale, IL, 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 was in no condition to operate a vehicle.

The Driver's Employer

If you were injured by someone who works as a driver, such as in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, you may be able to make a claim against the company that contracted and directed the driver. Negligence that could result in liability could include:

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

What Compensation Can I Recover for My Carbondale, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

The civil court system in the United States is based on the principle of making one whole. The concept is that when a person or organization injures you, you should be compensated to the extent that returns you to your state before the other person's negligence. In many car accident claims, for example a simple fender-bender, that might mean paying for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the pain and inconvenience involved with rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a relatively short period of time. In the most tragic cases, for example if you lose a family member, no financial recovery can truly compensate you, but the amount should be high enough to encapsulate the terrible loss you have sustained.

There are three categories of damages in a personal injury claim:

  1. Economic damages — This the totaling of all the bills and lost income related to your accident. It is a firm dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the accident, surgeries, medications, physical rehabilitation appointments and in-home care. You will also be paid 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 permits you to earn a living as you once did, 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 to and from chiropractic appointments, or had to invest in childcare while you were recovering, you need to be repaid for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical expenses or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will ensure the settlement or verdict amount adjusts for inflation as well.

  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 mental effects on your well-being, which can include anything from pain when bending over to tie your shoes to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you have permanent physical or cognitive impairments due to the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your spouse from the companionship and intimate relationships you grew accustomed to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same advice and care that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury claims, and are meant to punish the defendant and deter future misbehavior. We are aggressive in our pursuit of punitive damages in drunk driving accident claims. Not only does that increase your financial recovery, but it also makes the insurance company nervous as there is no coverage for punitive damages Pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers may be awarded punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially appalling behavior. It is clear to us that anyone who drives under the influence is demonstrating a shameless disregard your safety.

In addition, we have extensive experience winning the following cases for our Carbondale, IL clients:

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Carbondale, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including irresponsible drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more money than morals. For that reason, each of our Carbondale-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their education and abilities to defending the rights of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not investigating claims or in the courtroom defending the rights of our clients, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly honing our lawyer skills to deliver maximum compensation for our clients in Carbondale and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's irresponsible behavior did. For skillful, passionate and relentless representation, call the Carbondale, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.

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“Gary and his team provided us with effective, efficient and highly professional service. Gary provides sound advice and is a trustworthy and ethical attorney. I highly recommend the team!”

David and Fran Schneider

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