Making you whole again after a drunk driver's reckless decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Columbia, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Columbia, IL. If a selfish drunk driver hurt you or someone you care about, call the Columbia, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a no-risk, no-obligation case review. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Columbia 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 reckless drivers can still cause unimaginable damage. Whether you were driving home from dinner or just running errands, your life was unexpectedly completely disrupted through no fault of your own. The Columbia, 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 are piling up, you are losing time off work and everything seems different than it was in the recent past. We will fight for you until there is nothing left to fight. With the commitment, knowledge and tenacious legal advocacy of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of experience, we have recovered over $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Columbia, IL clients. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and you do not owe us a thing until you get the maximum financial recovery you deserve.

If you were hurt by an irresponsible drunk driver, find out how much your damages 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 Columbia, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely file charges against the drunk driver who caused the accident. But, only a personal injury lawyer can get you full compensation for your injuries. Talented, experienced and tenacious drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get the best possible financial recovery by:

At Burger Law, we know the ins-and-outs of every type of auto accident claim and know how to get great compensation.

Do I Need Columbia, 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 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, many other circumstances require legal representation for the best results:

  • The other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who injure people are likely looking at criminal charges as well, and may not want to admit guilt 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 obtain key evidence in order to hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance company does not want to pay for all of your damages. Ideally insurance companies would fulfill their commitment when one of their policyholders injures you in a drunk driving accident, far too often that does not happen. Even if the driver does take responsibility, the insurance company might try to persuade you that your injuries are pre-existing or you waited too long to seek medical treatment. Those are all deceptions aimed at devaluing your claim, and an accomplished drunk driving accident lawyer will fight back and let the insurance adjuster know we mean business.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is obviously liable, other entities may be at fault, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly let them use the car while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. This is especially beneficial when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries require ongoing care. The more severe your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing your damages more difficult, and will cause the insurance company to fight back against giving you a fair settlement. Tenacious and compassionate 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. Call us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak for a candid conversation with a drunk driving accident lawyer experienced with Illinois laws who will be straightforward with you about whether it is worth it or not for you to hire an attorney for your claim.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Seeing how many people choose to drink and drive can be incredibly sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, adding up to roughly one death every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily become less common in the last four decades, drunk drivers still account for three-tenths of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and harsh punishments for drunk driving have definitely done wonders for reducing crashes, injuries and deaths, some careless Columbia, IL residents still choose to disregard others' well-being while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you are owed a full financial recovery and the negligent driver needs to pay for breaking the rules. The Columbia, 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 states that almost one-fifth of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved a drunk driver. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, almost 40 percent tested positive.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Columbia, 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 enough to greatly impair someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in visual functions, inability to do two things at once, exaggerated confidence and poor judgment. At .05 percent - reached after roughly three alcohol beverages - a driver suffers from decreased coordination, inability to trace moving objects, difficulty maneuvering and a slower response to emergency situations. It is crucial to follow proper road safety and let someone else take the wheel if you have had too much to drink. Regrettably, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still experience the terrible consequences of a thoughtless Columbia, IL motorist making a selfish decision, driving drunk and hurting you or a loved one. Just knowing that the person who hurt you will face harsh repercussions in a criminal case cannot truly compensate you and your family for all of the ways they have impacted your life. You need the knowledgeable and aggressive Columbia, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to secure the financial settlement you and your family need and are owed. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to discuss your options and start on the road to feeling that true justice was done.

Drunk Driving Laws in Columbia and Illinois

Pursuant 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 resulted in 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 Columbia, IL?

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 driver needed to use reasonable care to avoid injuring you.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant did not do what they should have in order to avoid hurting you.
  3. Cause in Fact That your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
  4. Proximate Cause That the defendant's failure to act in a way that avoided hurting you caused the accident that caused your injuries.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as mental anguish. It is important to mention that in personal injury claims you cannot receive compensation for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained economic damages.

There are two aspects that make drunk driving accident claims different from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 stipulates that people who get behind the wheel of a vehicle are legally compelled to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with pedestrians or other vehicles. Meaning you do not have to prove the driver owed you a duty of care, as it is already stipulated under the law. Secondly, the legal principle of negligence per se stipulates that anyone who breaks the law is automatically considered to have breached their duty of care. Therefore, in drunk driving cases the first two elements are granted automatically as long as you have evidence that the driver was inebriated. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to demonstrate is that the driver caused the accident and injured you.

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 key to have dedicated and accomplished Columbia, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up to bullies and fight until you get the financial recovery you deserve.

Who Else Can I Sue for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Columbia, IL?

A driver is not the only one who may be held responsible in your claim. Other third parties include:

A Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Many states have what is known as a dram shop rule, under which you may be able sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if the accident caused you injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are specified in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law easier to apply than many other states' in that the drunk driver did not have to be visibly drunk when they were sold alcohol in order for the vendor to be liable. You just have to show:

  • That the bar or restaurant sold the driver alcohol, which you can demonstrate with surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness or employee testimony
  • That the patron they sold to caused the drunk driving accident
  • That the the patron got drunk because of the alcohol that was sold to him

You can only sue a social host — meaning someone who furnishes liquor to a guest in a private residence — if the driver liable for your injuries was not old enough to drink legally and became drunk at the party.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller sets 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, the maximum is $77,787.30 for each person incurring damages, 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 the driver was driving someone else's car, the owner may be responsible for a portion of your damages. According to the theory of negligent entrustment, someone may owe you damages if they permit someone else to use a thing which is under the control of the actor if it would not be safe to do so. In a drunk driving accident suit in Columbia, 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 had had to much too drink.

The Driver's Employer

If your accident was caused by a commercial driver, for example in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may have some liability. Reasons they are liable could include:

Experienced Columbia, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have experience with all of these types of negligence claims and know how to hold the appropriate parties liable. When you hire us, we start investigating your case right away to find as many liable parties as possible.

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

Tort claims in the United States are based on the doctrine of making one whole. "Being made whole" means that when another party injures you, you should be paid a dollar amount commensurate to the extent of your damages. In many car accident claims, for example a rear-end accident, that might mean paying for lost wages, physical therapy appointments and the pain that is a result of rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a little while. In the most tragic cases, for example if you or a loved one has permanent disability, no amount of money can be expected to compensate you, but the settlement or verdict should be great enough to provide a least some sense of restitution.

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 dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the injury, surgeries, medications, physical rehabilitation appointments and assistive devices such as crutches. You will also receive compensation 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 on the job as you were healing. If your injury caused a long-term or permanent injury that no longer permits 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 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 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 emotional hardships you have been put through, which can include anything from difficulty carrying groceries in to the emotional impact of not being able to pick up your kids anymore.
    • Disability for any life-long physical or cognitive impairments the selfish driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries result in lasting scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your significant other from the companionship and intimate relationships you once shared.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your family can no longer share the same counsel and camaraderie that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury compensation, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and discourage future misbehavior. Punitive damages can — and should — be sought when making a civil claim against a drunk driver. Not only does that help get you the money you are owed, but it also puts the insurance company on their heels as punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies Pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can seek punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially egregious behavior. It is clear to us that anyone who drives under the influence is demonstrating a flagrant disregard your safety.

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

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Columbia, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including selfish drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies who care more about money than morals. That is why each of our Columbia-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has committed their lives to standing up for the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not investigating and litigating cases, our drunk driving accident lawyers are consistently sharpening our lawyer skills to secure the best results for our clients in Columbia and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's terrible actions did. For accomplished, compassionate and aggressive representation, call the Columbia, 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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