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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Chatham, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Chatham, 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 Chatham, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a complimentary consultation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Chatham and throughout Illinois by securing them the maximum compensation they are owed.

You can do everything you are supposed to to keep other drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe, but careless drivers can still put you in harm's way and unfairly injure you. Whether you were coming back to town after a long weekend or lazily driving around on the weekend, all of a sudden your entire life was completely disrupted through no fault of your own. The Chatham, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law truly care about out clients and their cases and families mean something to us. We know the medical bills are accumulating, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and it is hard to get the same enjoyment out of life that you did just a short while ago. You do not have to go through this alone. With the commitment, skill and aggressive legal counsel of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of experience, we have recovered more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Chatham, IL clients. Our initial consultation and investigation is free, and we do not charge any fees until we win your case.

If you were hurt by a thoughtless drunk driver, discover how much your injuries may be worth by filling out our free personal injury calculator.

Chicago

Chicago

22 W Washington St
Suite 1500 A
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 500-4878

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

Law enforcement will likely seek a guilty verdict in criminal court. But, you will still need a personal injury lawyer to confront the drunk driver in civil court and get you a financial recovery for all of your damages. Knowledgeable, veteran and tenacious drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get justice 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 Chatham, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers 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 determine when to hire a personal injury lawyer. If the driver accepts culpability and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, it probably will not be too difficult to get fair compensation. However, there are many situations in which a drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to significantly add value to your claim:

  • The drunk driver refuses to be held accountable for their actions. Drunk drivers who injure people will go in front of a judge in criminal court, and may be motivated not to cooperate in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. While a knowledgeable 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 on state charges. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to utilize the law in order to prove that the defendant were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance company is not being fair. In a perfect world insurance companies would recognize their obligation when one of their policyholders injures you in a drunk driving accident, an insurance adjusters real job is to save the company money, not fairly compensate you. Even if the driver admits liability, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries are the result of other trauma or you waited too long to seek medical treatment. Those are all lies, and a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the compensation you are owed.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is obviously liable, other entities may bear partial responsibility, such as the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify anyone who bears responsibility for the accident. Finding other liable parties is vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to properly compensate you.
  • Your injuries are severe. The more serious your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes putting a dollar amount on 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. Skilled and knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyers will not only fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, 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 talk directly to a drunk driving accident lawyer experienced with Illinois laws who will be honest with you about whether you need an attorney to get the best results in your case.

How Common is Drunk Driving in Chatham, IL and the U.S.?

Seeing how many people choose to drink and drive can be pretty sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, or about one death in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily declined since 1982, drunk drivers are still responsible for 29 percent of all auto related deaths. While organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and strict punishments for drunk driving have definitely done a lot to make our communities safer, some careless Chatham, IL residents still choose to put others at risk just so they can have a good time and skip on paying for an Uber. If you are hurt as a result, you are owed a full financial recovery and the negligent driver needs to be held responsible for the harm they have caused. The Chatham, 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 found that almost 20 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of almost 40 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Chatham, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, a level of even .02 percent is sufficient to substantially hinder someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in sight, inability to do two things at once, a change in mood and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - the product of about three alcohol beverages - a person suffers from decreased coordination, reduced ability to follow moving objects, challenges using the steering wheel and not being able to respond quickly to emergency situations. It is imperative to follow proper road safety and let someone else take the wheel if you are intoxicated. Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still be left reeling from the devastating consequences of a thoughtless Chatham, IL motorist not caring about the rules, driving drunk and hurting you or a loved one. Just 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 experienced and talented Chatham, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to make sure you recover fair compensation for all of your damages. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to find out the best way to proceed and begin on the path to feeling that true justice was done.

Drunk Driving Laws in Chatham and Illinois

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:

  • It is a third or subsequent violation
  • 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 a school zone that lead to bodily harm

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

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

Generally, 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 needed to use reasonable care to avoid injuring you.
  2. Breach of Duty That the driver did not do what they should have in order to avoid hurting you.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident resulted in your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the accident would not have happened but for the defendant's breach of duty.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as emotional distress. 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 dictates that motorists have an obligation to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. Meaning a driver automatically owed you a duty of care. Secondly, the legal principle of negligence per se stipulates that anyone who breaks the law is negligent as a matter of law. Therefore, in drunk driving cases you only need to show that the driver was drunk in order to prove the first two elements. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to show 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, 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 key to have dedicated and skilled Chatham, IL drunk driving accident lawyers by your side to fight until you get the best results in your claim.

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

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

A Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Dram shop rules permit you to sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if the accident caused you injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are stipulated in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law less strict than 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 someone underage. You just have to prove:

  • That the bar or restaurant sold the driver alcohol, which you can show with surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness or employee depositions
  • That the customer they supplied alcohol to caused the drunk driving accident
  • That the vendor is responsible for the patron being drunk

You can only sue a social host — meaning someone who supplies their private guests with alcohol — if the person who caused your accident was not of legal age to drink and became intoxicated at the private residence.

Every year the Illinois Comptroller places 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 injured party, or $95,073.37 if the accident caused loss of support or loss of society a family member's wrongful death.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If you were injured by a vehicle that was not being driven by the owner, the owner may be liable for some of your damages. In a negligent entrustment case, it is negligent to permit a third person to engage in an activity which is under the control of the actor if if permitting the activity creates an inherent risk. In a drunk driving accident claim in Chatham, IL, that means that you must show that the owner of the vehicle purposely allowed the other driver to use their car, and that the owner knew or should have known that the driver had had to much too drink.

The Driver's Employer

If your accident was caused by someone who earns a living as a driver, for example in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may also owe you damages. Reasons they are liable could include:

Experienced Chatham, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have seen all of these types of claims and know how to hold the appropriate parties liable. When you hire us, we start investigating your claim right away to find everyone who is responsible for your injuries.

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

Civil claims in the United States are based on the theory of making one whole. "Being made whole" means that when another party is responsible for your damages, 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 a low-speed crash in a parking lot, that might mean paying for lost wages, physical therapy appointments and the pain and inconvenience that comes with rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a relatively short period of time. In the most tragic cases, for example if you or a loved one becomes paralyzed, no financial recovery can truly compensate you, but the financial recovery should be high enough to encapsulate the terrible loss you have sustained.

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 non-arguable dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the accident, operations, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical rehabilitation appointments and in-home nursing. 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 be reimbursed for full amount of the wages you lost from not being able to work while you recovered. If your injury caused a long-term or permanent injury that no longer allows you to perform the tasks required of your job, you will also be compensated for the salary you would have made in the future, but for the injuries.
    • Out-of-pocket expenses — If you had to pay for transportation to and from medical appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you need to be repaid for that too.

    In the case of future medical bills or lost earning capacity, drunk driving accident lawyers will ensure the compensation adjusts for inflation as well.

  2. Noneconomic damages 735 ILCS 5/2-1115.2 refers to noneconomic damages as "intangible" damages, "including but not limited to":
    • Pain and suffering refers to the physical and mental burdens you have been put through, which can include anything from difficulty sleeping in certain positions to the emotional impact of not being able to exercise the same way anymore.
    • Disability if you have permanent physical or cognitive challenges after the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident result in permanent scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your significant other from the companionship and intimate relationships you once had.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your loved ones can no longer share the same guidance and care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury recoveries, and are meant to punish the drunk driver and discourage future misbehavior. When we make a claim against drunk drivers, we always pursue punitive damages. Not only does that help get you the money you are owed, but it also motivates the insurance company to be fair because their policyholders do not pay for punitive damages in their policies According to 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can seek punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially dangerous behavior. At Burger Law, we believe that anyone who gets behind the wheel while drunk knows exactly how reckless they are being.

In addition, our Chatham, IL attorneys have decades of experience winning cases in:

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Chatham, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including reckless drivers do not value other people's safety and resistant insurance companies focus more on money than morals. That is why each of our Chatham-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has pledged their careers to fighting on behalf 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 constantly sharpening our abilities to secure the best results for our clients in Chatham and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's selfish decisions did. For expert, passionate and tenacious representation, call the Chatham, 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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