Getting you the compensation you deserve after a drunk driver's terrible decision left you to pick up the pieces

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Godfrey, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Godfrey, 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 Godfrey, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free consultation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Godfrey and throughout Illinois by defending their rights.

You can do everything you are supposed to to keep other drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe, but thoughtless drivers can still put you in harm's way and unfairly injure you. Whether you were on your way home for your in-laws or just running errands, all of a sudden your entire life was upended when you did nothing wrong. The Godfrey, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have committed their lives to helping people in similar circumstances get justice and full financial recoveries when they may be feeling like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. We know the medical bills are piling up, you are losing time off work and your life is not the same as it before your accident. We will be by your side until things are made right again. With the dedication, expertise and unshakable legal counsel of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our more than 30 years of litigating and trying cases, we have gotten more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Godfrey and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and you do not owe us a thing until the final verdict or settlement has been reached.

If you were hurt by a selfish drunk driver, see how much your claim may be worth by filling out 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 Godfrey, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

A prosecutor will likely do everything they can to convict a drunk driver criminally. 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, accomplished and tenacious drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get maximum compensation 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 Godfrey, 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 gauge when to hire a personal injury lawyer. If the driver accepts culpability and your injuries are minor and only require an appointment with your primary care physician, 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:

  • There is a dispute about liability. Drunk drivers who cause accidents will probably be prosecuted, and may be motivated not to cooperate in order to not be sentenced in criminal court. While while not every drunk driver is found guilty, 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 hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance company does not want to pay for all of your damages. In a perfect world 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 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 deceptions aimed at minimizing your claim, and a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer will not let them get away with them.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is clearly liable, other parties may be at fault, such as a restaurant that overserved the driver. Drunk driving accident lawyers will carry out a thorough investigation and identify all liable parties. Finding other liable parties is vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to fairly compensate you.
  • Your injuries require ongoing care. The more significant your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more complex, and motivates the insurance company to try to minimize your damages as much as possible. Tenacious and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only be able to calculate and demand full compensation, 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 for a candid conversation with a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar with Illinois laws who will be straightforward with you about whether you need an attorney to get the best results in your case.

How Common is Drunk Driving in Godfrey, 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, which is approximately one fatality in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have consistently declined in the last 40 years, drunk drivers still account for three-tenths of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly done wonders for reducing drunk driving, some careless Godfrey, IL individuals still choose to put others at risk just so they party and skip on paying for a rideshare. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you are owed a full financial recovery and the reckless driver needs to be held accountable for what they did. The Godfrey, 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 almost 20 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved a drunk driver. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of 37.1 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

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

While it is only illegal to drink and drive if your blood alcohol concentration is over .008 percent, a level of only .02 percent is sufficient to significantly hinder 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, an altered mood and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - reached after roughly three drinks - a motorist suffers from decreased coordination, reduced ability to track movement, difficulty steering and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is vital to exercise great caution and have a back up plan if you are not in the best condition to drive. Regrettably, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still be left reeling from the catastrophic consequences of a reckless Godfrey, IL driver making a selfish decision, 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 cannot truly compensate you and your family for all of the ways they have impacted your life. You need the knowledgeable and proficient Godfrey, 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 road to being made whole again.

Drunk Driving Laws in Godfrey and Illinois

According to 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, drunk or drug impaired driving is a Class A Misdemeanor. However, a driving under the influence becomes "aggravated driving under the influence" and a Class 4 Felony if:

  • The driver had more than two previous DUI offenses
  • An accident occurred that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to someone else
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that lead to personal injury

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 Godfrey, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the driver 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 caused your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the accident would not have happened but for the defendant's failure to act in a way that avoided hurting you.
  5. Damages That the negligence was the reason you sustained a loss, such as economic damages like damage to your car as well as noneconomic damages. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were associated monetary losses.

There are two factors that set drunk driving accidents apart from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 stipulates that motorists are required to to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with anyone else on the road. Meaning a driver automatically owed you a duty of care. 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.

None of that means you should take the success of your case for granted; the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is key to have passionate and skilled Godfrey, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and fight until you get the compensation you deserve.

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

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

A Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Many states have what is referred to as a dram shop rule, under which you may be able sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if the accident caused you injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are explained in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law less strict 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 at fault. You just have to show:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate with security footage, receipts or eyewitness depositions
  • That the patron they served 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 drunk driver was under the age of 21 and became inebriated at the private residence.

Each 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 resulted in 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, you may be able to make a claim against the owner. According to the practice of negligent entrustment, it is negligent to permit a third person to use a thing 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 Godfrey, 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, such as in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may be partially to blame. Negligence that could result in liability could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Godfrey, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive 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 Godfrey, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Civil claims in the United States are based on the principle of making one whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone injures you, 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 rear-end accident, being made whole means recovering compensation for lost wages, follow-up doctors' appointments and the physical strain that comes with rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a little while. In the worst cases, for example if you or a loved one becomes paralyzed, no financial recovery can genuinely make you whole, but the settlement or verdict 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 a firm dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the accident, surgeries, medications, physical therapy appointments and assistive devices such as wheelchairs. 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 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 long-term or permanent injury that no longer permits you to work, you will also be compensated for the money 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 invest in childcare while you were recovering, you deserve to be compensated for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical expenses or lost earning capacity, 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 include anything from difficulty going up and down the stairs to the emotional impact of not being able to pick up your kids anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive impairments the drunk driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries result in permanent scarring.
    • 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 impede you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same advice and care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury claims, 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 help secure you the money you are owed, but it also puts the insurance company on their heels because there is no coverage for punitive damages Under 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can seek punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially appalling behavior. At Burger Law, we have learned that anyone who drives drunk is very aware of the danger their actions pose.

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

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Godfrey, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including irresponsible drivers do not respect other people's safety and resistant insurance companies who care more about think it is acceptable to withhold the financial recovery you deserve. That is why each of our Godfrey-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has committed their lives to defending the rights of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV or billboards. When we are not investigating and litigating cases, our drunk driving accident lawyers are constantly honing our lawyer skills to secure the best results for our clients in Godfrey and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's terrible decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Godfrey, 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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