Getting you the compensation you deserve after a drunk driver's selfish decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Decatur, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Decatur, IL. If a selfish drunk driver injured you or a loved one, call the Decatur, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free case evaluation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Decatur and throughout Illinois by fighting on their behalf so they can focus on healing.

You can do everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones, but drunk 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, all of a sudden your entire life was completely disrupted when you did nothing wrong. The Decatur, 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 you cannot earn a living right now and your life is not the same as it in the not-too-distance past. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the compassions, expertise and unshakable legal advocacy of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our more than 30 years of experience, we have recovered more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Decatur, IL clients. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and you do not owe us a thing until we win your case.

If you were injured by a selfish drunk driver, find out 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 Decatur, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

Law enforcement will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. But, you will still need a personal injury lawyer to stand up to the drunk driver in civil court and get you full compensation for your injuries. Knowledgeable, seasoned 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 Decatur, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

The only way to know when to hire a personal injury lawyer is by having a professional examine the details of your claim. If the driver accepts culpability 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 drunk driver will not take responsibility for their actions. Drunk drivers who cause accidents 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 drunk driving charges can sometimes be dropped or reduced, 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 cross-examine the drunk driver in a deposition in order to hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance adjuster is not being fair. While you would like to think insurance companies would fulfill their commitment when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, an insurance adjusters real job is to save the company money, not fairly compensate you. Even if the driver is willing to be held accountable, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries are pre-existing or that they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. Those are all lies, and a talented drunk driving accident lawyer will fight back and let the insurance adjuster know we mean business.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is clearly liable, other parties may be at fault, such as a alcohol vendor that overserved the driver. Drunk driving accident lawyers will perform a thorough investigation and identify anyone who bears responsibility for the accident. Finding other liable parties is vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to fairly compensate you.
  • Your injuries are severe. The more significant your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing 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 compassionate drunk driving accident lawyers will not only ensure you receive the entirety of your damages, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

At Burger Law, our consultations and initial investigations are 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.

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

Understanding just how bad the problem of drinking and driving can be incredibly sobering. Every day 28 people are killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers, or about one death in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have consistently declined since 1982, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have definitely done wonders for reducing crashes, injuries and deaths, some reckless Decatur, IL individuals still decide to put others at risk just so they enjoy themselves and avoid paying for an Uber. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you are owed a full financial recovery and the negligent driver needs to be held accountable for the harm they have caused. The Decatur, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will use or skills and dedication to see wrongs made right.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts states that almost 20 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of almost 40 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Decatur, 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 significantly impede 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 approximately three drinks - a motorist suffers from decreased coordination, reduced ability to track movement, difficulty maneuvering and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is crucial to do you part in protecting other drivers, passengers and pedestrians and find other ways of getting home if you have had too much to drink. Unfortunately, sometimes you can commit to protecting others on the road and still experience the horrible and unfair consequences of a thoughtless Decatur, IL motorist disregarding your safety, getting behind the wheel drunk and injuring you or a loved one. Just knowing the harsh penalties that come with a DWI conviction is not enough. You need the accomplished and tenacious Decatur, 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 start on the road to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Decatur 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:

  • The driver had more than two previous DUI offenses
  • The driver caused a motor vehicle accident 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 Decatur, IL?

There are five elements needed in order to prove negligence in a personal injury claim:

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant 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 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 driver's breach of duty.
  5. Damages That the accident led to tangible loss, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as pain and suffering. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were also monetary losses.

There are two aspects that set drunk driving accidents apart 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 required to to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with anyone else on the road. Meaning the first element is a given. Secondly, the legal theory of negligence per se means 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 can demonstrate that the driver was intoxicated. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to demonstrate at that point is that the accident caused your injuries and that you incurred losses as a result.

Negligence per se does not mean you will automatically be awarded the financial recovery you deserve; 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 critical to have passionate and accomplished Decatur, 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 Decatur, 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 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 show significant impairment when they were sold alcohol in order for the vendor to be liable. You just have to demonstrate:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can show through recordings, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the customer they supplied alcohol 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 furnishes liquor to a guest in a private residence — if the person who caused your accident was under the age of 21 and became intoxicated at the private residence.

Annually, the Illinois Comptroller stipulates dram shop liability limits on how much a vendor or social host is required to pay out. As of Jan. 20, 2022, those limits are $77,787.30 for each injured party, or $95,073.37 if the accident resulted in loss of support or loss of society due to 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 claim, someone may owe you damages if they permit someone else 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 Decatur, 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 was in no condition to operate a vehicle.

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, 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:

Experienced Decatur, 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 accident right away to determine everyone who is responsible for your injuries.

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

Personal injury claims in the United States are based on the principle of making one whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone is to blame for your injuries, 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, being made whole means recovering compensation money you lost from work while recovering, chiropractic appointments and the pain and inconvenience that comes with rehabilitating from a neck injury for a little while. In the most destructive cases, for example if you lose a family member, no amount of money can genuinely compensate you, but the amount 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 an unbiased dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any emergency room visits, operations, medications, chiropractic appointments and assistive devices such as crutches. You will also be reimbursed for any medical expenses that will arise 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 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 gas to and from physical therapy 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 costs or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will make sure the recovery 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 emotional effects on your well-being, which can be anything anything from difficulty sleeping in certain positions to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you have life-long physical or cognitive challenges due to the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your significant other from the companionship and intimate relationships you grew accustomed to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your loved ones can no longer share the same counsel and care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury compensation, and are intended to punish the defendant and deter others from making the same mistakes. Punitive damages can — and should — be sought when making a civil claim against a drunk driver. Not only does that maximize your compensation, but it also helps secure a fair settlement from the insurance company as punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies Under 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, our experience tells us that anyone who gets behind the wheel while intoxicated is very aware of the danger their actions pose.

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

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Decatur, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including selfish drivers do not respect other people's safety and resistant insurance companies focus more on their profits than doing the right thing. That is why each of our Decatur-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has committed their careers to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not investigating and litigating cases, our drunk driving accident lawyers are constantly fine-tuning our negotiation and trial skills to deliver great recoveries for our clients in Decatur and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's dangerous decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Decatur, 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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