Securing justice after someone else's terrible decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers East St. Louis, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in East St. Louis, IL. If you or a loved one was injured because someone else broke the rules of the road and got behind the wheel drunk, call the East St. Louis, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a no-risk, no-obligation case evaluation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in East St. Louis and throughout Illinois by securing them the maximum compensation they are owed.

You can do everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones, but thoughtless drivers can still cause unimaginable destruction. Whether you were coming back to town after a long weekend or just running errands, all of a sudden your entire life was upended through no fault of your own. The East St. Louis, 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 you cannot earn a living right now and it is hard to get the same enjoyment out of life that you did before your accident. We will fight for you until there is nothing left to fight. With the dedication, expertise and forceful legal counsel 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 East St. Louis, IL clients. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and you do not owe us a thing until you get the great compensation you deserve.

If you were injured by a careless drunk driver, find out how much your injuries may be worth by utilizing 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 East St. Louis, 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. Still, only a personal injury lawyer can get you a financial recovery for all of your damages. Knowledgeable, accomplished 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 East St. Louis, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

That depends on the particulars of your case, and if you have never been injured in an accident before it may be difficult to decide when to hire a personal injury lawyer. If the driver accepts blame and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, a lawyer likely will not be able to add much value to your claim. However, there are many situations in which a drunk driving accident lawyer is the only way to get fair compensation:

  • The drunk driver refuses to be held accountable for their actions. Drunk drivers who cause injuries will go in front of a judge in criminal court, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company 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 on state charges. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to cross-examine the drunk driver in a deposition in order to get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance adjuster refuses to offer a full settlement. Ideally insurance companies would fulfill their commitment 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 is willing to be held accountable, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries are the result of other trauma or they only have to pay for some of your medical care. Those are all deceptions aimed at minimizing your claim, and an accomplished drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the financial recovery you are owed.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is obviously to blame, other entities may bear partial responsibility, such as a restaurant that overserved the driver. Drunk driving accident lawyers will perform a thorough investigation and identify all liable parties. This is especially important when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries are severe. The more grave your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing 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 fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, but we will ensure you receive all of the medical you need to recover.

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 honest with you about whether the insurance company is offering a fair settlement.

How Common is Drunk Driving in East St. Louis, 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, adding up to roughly one death in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have steadily been on the decline since 1982, drunk drivers are still responsible for 29 percent of all auto related deaths. While awareness campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly done wonders for reducing crashes, injuries and deaths, some selfish East St. Louis, IL residents still choose to disregard others' well-being while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. If you are injured as a result, you deserve to be justly reimbursed with a complete recovery and the careless driver needs to pay for breaking the rules. The East St. Louis, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts reported that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of 37.1 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | East St. Louis, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While it is only illegal to drink and drive if your blood alcohol concentration is more than .008 percent, a level of only .02 percent is sufficient to significantly impede someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to multi-task, a change in mood and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - the product of about three drinks - a motorist suffers from reduced coordination, inability to track moving objects, challenges maneuvering and not being able to respond quickly to unexpected things on the road. It is crucial to do you part in protecting other drivers, passengers and pedestrians and always have someone else drive if you have had too much to drink. Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still be left reeling from the terrible consequences of a dangerous East St. Louis, IL driver disregarding your safety, driving drunk and injuring you or a family member. Just knowing that the negligent driver will likely face criminal charges, steep fees, restrictions on their license and possibly jail time cannot truly compensate you and your family for all of the ways they have impacted your life. Trust in the experienced and tenacious East St. Louis, 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 go over your case and begin on the path to feeling that true justice was done.

Drunk Driving Laws in East St. Louis and Illinois

Under to 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, drunk or drug impaired driving is a Class A Misdemeanor. However, a drunk driving 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

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 East St. Louis, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant was required to act in a certain, safe way.
  2. Breach of Duty That the driver failed or was negligent in that duty.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident resulted in your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the defendant's breach of duty is the reason for the accident.
  5. Damages That the accident led to tangible loss, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as emotional distress. It is important to mention that in personal injury claims you cannot make a claim for 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 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 philosophy of negligence per se states that anyone who violates a state statute 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 prove 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; the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is imperative to have passionate and accomplished East St. Louis, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and get the compensation you are owed.

Are Any Third Parties Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in East St. Louis, IL?

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

A Bar, Restaurant 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 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 show:

  • That the bar or restaurant sold the driver alcohol, which you can demonstrate through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness depositions
  • That the customer they supplied alcohol to was responsible for your injuries
  • 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 holds a private party — if the person who caused your accident was under the age of 21 and became drunk at the party.

Every year the Illinois Comptroller stipulates 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 injured party, or $95,073.37 if the accident led to 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, you may be able to file a suit against the owner. According to the doctrine of negligent entrustment, it is negligent to permit a third person 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 suit in East St. Louis, 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 you were injured by someone who works 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 contracted 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 East St. Louis, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct an exhaustive investigation into your claim. Doing so will not only make sure every negligent party is held accountable, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

What Damages Are Available for My East St. Louis, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Tort claims in the United States are based on the theory of being made whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone is at-fault 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 a low-speed crash in a parking lot, being made whole means recovering compensation for lost wages, physical therapy appointments and the pain and inconvenience that comes with rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a relatively short period of time. In the most tragic cases, for example if you lose a family member, no amount of money can genuinely make you whole, but the settlement or verdict should be great enough to provide a least some sense of comfort.

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 figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the injury, operations, medications, physical rehabilitation appointments and in-home care. You will also be reimbursed for any medical expenses that we expect to 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 able to work while you recovered. If your injury resulted in a disability that no longer allows you to perform the tasks required of your job, 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 transportation to and from medical appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, you deserve to be compensated for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical bills or lost earning potential, 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 mental effects on your well-being, which can be anything anything from difficulty turning your head to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you have life-long physical or cognitive difficulties due to the accident.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries caused lasting scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your significant other from the companionship and intimate relationships you are used to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same advice and camaraderie that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury claims, and are meant to punish the drunk driver and discourage others from making the same mistakes. When we make a claim against drunk drivers, we always pursue punitive damages. Not only does that increase your financial recovery, but it also puts the insurance company on their heels because their policyholders do not pay for punitive damages in their policies Under 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can argue in favor of punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially dangerous behavior. At Burger Law, we have learned that anyone who gets behind the wheel while intoxicated how much of a potential threat they are to other people on the roads.

In addition, our East St. Louis, IL attorneys have decades of experience winning cases in:

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East St. Louis, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including irresponsible drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more their profits than doing the right thing. That is why each of our East St. Louis-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their education and abilities to standing up for the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV 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 negotiation and trial skills to deliver the best results for our clients in East St. Louis and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's irresponsible actions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the East St. Louis, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.

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David and Fran Schneider

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