Securing justice after a drunk driver's selfish decision left you to pick up the pieces

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Erie, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Erie, IL. If a reckless drunk driver harmed you or a family member, call the Erie, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a complimentary case review. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Erie and throughout Illinois by standing up to bullies and getting them the financial recovery they deserve.

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 on your way to a sports game or just running errands, all of a sudden your entire life was completely disrupted through no fault of your own. The Erie, 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 are losing time off work and it is hard to get the same enjoyment out of life that you did in the not-too-distance past. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the dedication, expertise and forceful legal advocacy of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of litigating and trying cases, we have recovered over $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Erie and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Talking to us is free, and we do not charge any fees until we win your case.

If you were harmed by a careless drunk driver, discover how much your claim 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 Erie, 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, a personal injury lawyer is still necessary to get you a financial recovery for all of your damages. Talented, veteran and relentless 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 Erie, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

Every crash is different, and you can only truly know when to hire a personal injury lawyer by seeking the advise of one. If there is no dispute about who is at fault 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 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 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 get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance company does not want to pay for all of your damages. Ideally insurance companies would realize their obligation when one of their policyholders decides to make a irresponsible decision that ends up injuring you, far too often that does not happen. Even in the event that the driver does take responsibility, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries are pre-existing or they only have to pay for some of your medical care. None of that is true, and a talented drunk driving accident lawyer will not let them get away with them.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is obviously liable, other entities 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 crucial when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries require ongoing care. The more significant your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, 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. Tenacious and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only be able to calculate and demand full compensation, but we will ensure you receive all of the medical you need to recover.

At Burger Law, there is no risk or obligation when talking to us. Contact us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak directly to a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar with Illinois laws who will be straightforward with you about whether we can add to your claim.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

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 fatality every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily been on the decline since 1982, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While safe driving campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have definitely done wonders for reducing drunk driving, some selfish Erie, IL residents still choose to put others at risk while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. If you are injured as a result, you are owed a full financial recovery and the careless driver needs to pay for the harm they have caused. The Erie, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will use or skills and dedication to see wrongs made right.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts found that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved alcohol. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, almost 40 percent tested positive.

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

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, a level of only .02 percent is sufficient to substantially reduce someone's driving skills. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks at the same time, exaggerated confidence and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - the product of roughly three drinks - a motorist experiences decreased coordination, inability to follow movement, difficulty using the steering wheel and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is crucial to exercise great caution and always have someone else drive if you have had too much to drink. Regrettably, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still be left to pick up the pieces after the horrible and unfair consequences of a reckless Erie, IL motorist making a selfish decision, driving while intoxicated and injuring you or a family member. Just knowing the harsh penalties that come with a DWI conviction cannot truly compensate you and your family for all of the ways they have impacted your life. Trust in the accomplished and proficient Erie, 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 discuss your options and start on the road to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Erie and Illinois

Under 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 driving under the influence 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 lead to bodily harm

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

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

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

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant was required to act in a certain, safe way.
  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 led to your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the accident would not have happened but for the defendant's failure to use reasonable care.
  5. Damages That the negligence was the reason you sustained a loss, such as economic damages like lost wages as well as pain and suffering. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were associated 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 specifically states that people who get behind the wheel of a vehicle are legally compelled 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 states that anyone who violates a state statute automatically did not act in a reasonable manner to avoid injuring you. 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 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 get the compensation you deserve; the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is crucial to have aggressive and accomplished Erie, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up for you and fight until you get the best results in your claim.

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

The driver is clearly liable for their reckless decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers well-versed in 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 laws allow you to sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if you sustained injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are explained in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law more liberal 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 vendor sold the driver alcohol, which you can demonstrate through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness or employee depositions
  • That the patron they sold to caused 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 not of legal age to drink and became intoxicated at the private residence.

Every year the Illinois Comptroller sets dram shop liability limits on how much a establishment or social host is required to pay out. 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 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 a portion of your damages. In a negligent entrustment claim, someone may owe you damages if they 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 case in Erie, 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 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 hired and directed the driver. Reasons they are liable could include:

Experienced Erie, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have experience with all of these types of claims and know how to get results in them. When you hire us, we start investigating your accident right away to find as many liable parties as possible.

What Damages Are Available for My Erie, 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 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 money you lost from work while recovering, follow-up doctors' appointments and the physical strain that comes with rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a little while. In the most destructive cases, for example if you or a loved one loses a limb, no financial recovery can be expected to make you whole, but the amount should be high enough to encapsulate the terrible loss you have sustained.

Damages in a personal injury claim are broken down into three distinct groups:

  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 objective 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 paid for any medical bills that we expect to arise in the future.
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity — You will receive the full amount of the wages you lost from not being on the job as you were healing. If your injury resulted in a disability that no longer allows you to work, you will also be compensated for the wages 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 chiropractic appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, you need to be compensated for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical expenses 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 tribulations you have been put through, which can include anything from pain when going up and down the stairs to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability for any life-long physical or cognitive difficulties the drunk driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused 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 love and intimate relationships you grew accustomed to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your family can no longer share the same advice and care that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and discourage future misbehavior. We are aggressive in our pursuit of punitive damages in drunk driving accident claims. Not only does that maximize your compensation, but it also puts the insurance company on their heels because punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies Under 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 conduct. It is clear to us that anyone who drives drunk is demonstrating a brazen lack of respect for your safety.

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

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Erie, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including selfish drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies who care more about money than morals. For that reason, each of our Erie-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their lives to standing up for 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 honing our abilities to secure maximum compensation for our clients in Erie and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's irresponsible decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Erie, 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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