Making you whole again after someone else's terrible decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Hazel Crest, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Hazel Crest, 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 Hazel Crest, 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 Hazel Crest and throughout Illinois by securing them the maximum compensation they are owed.

You can do everything right to protect yourself and your loved ones, but reckless drivers can still cause unfathomable damage. Whether you were coming back to town after a long weekend or lazily driving around on a Sunday, your life was unexpectedly turned upside down when you did nothing wrong. The Hazel Crest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have pledged their lives to helping individuals and families like you get peace of mind and maximum financial recoveries when they may be feeling like there was no way out. We know the medical bills are accumulating, you may not be able to work because of your injuries 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 commitment, expertise and forceful 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 Hazel Crest, IL clients. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you receive the settlement check you deserve.

If you were injured by a reckless drunk driver, see how much your damages may be worth by utilizing 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 Hazel Crest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

Law enforcement will likely seek a guilty verdict in criminal court. However, only a personal injury lawyer can get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Skilled, veteran and aggressive drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get the best possible financial recovery 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 Hazel Crest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

That depends on the specifics 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 there is no dispute about who is at fault and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, it may not be worth it to hire an attorney. However, many other circumstances require legal representation for the best results:

  • The other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who cause injuries will probably be prosecuted, 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 in their criminal case. 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 refuses to offer a full settlement. Ideally insurance companies would recognize their commitment when one of their policyholders decides to make a irresponsible decision that winds up injuring you, that is not always the case. Even if the driver is willing to be held accountable, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries are the result of other trauma or that they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. None of that is true, and an experienced 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 bear partial responsibility, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly let them use the vehicle while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify all liable parties. Finding other liable parties is crucial when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries will require medical care in the future. The more significant your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more complex, and will cause the insurance company to fight back against giving you a fair settlement. Skilled and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only ensure you receive the entirety of your damages, but we can connect you to trusted physicians to make sure you get the medical treatment you need.

At Burger Law, there is no risk or obligation when talking to us. Reach out to us now at (314) 500-HURT to talk 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 Often Do Drunk Driving Accidents Happen in Missouri and the U.S.?

Understanding just how bad the problem of drinking and driving can be quite sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, which is approximately one death every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily declined since 1982, drunk drivers still account for almost a third of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While safe driving campaigns and strict punishments for drunk driving have definitely done a lot to make our roads safer, some selfish Hazel Crest, IL individuals still decide to put others at risk 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 deserve to be justly reimbursed with a full recovery and the negligent driver needs to be held responsible for the harm they have caused. The Hazel Crest, 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 reported 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, 37.1 percent tested positive.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Hazel Crest, 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 even .02 percent is enough to considerably impair someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in sight, inability to perform two tasks simultaneously, exaggerated confidence and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - reached after approximately three drinks - a person experiences decreased coordination, inability to follow movement, challenges steering and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is crucial to exercise great caution and have a back up plan if you are intoxicated. Regrettably, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still be left to pick up the pieces after the terrible consequences of a thoughtless Hazel Crest, IL driver disregarding your safety, driving drunk and injuring you or a loved one. 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. You need the experienced and skilled Hazel Crest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to see things made right. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to discuss your options and begin on the path to feeling that true justice was achieved.

Drunk Driving Laws in Hazel Crest and Illinois

Pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, drunk or drug impaired driving 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 someone else
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that resulted in personal injury

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

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

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

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant needed to use reasonable care to avoid injuring you.
  2. Breach of Duty That the driver did not use reasonable care.
  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 negligence.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as economic damages like damage to your car as well as pain and suffering. 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 set drunk driving accidents apart from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that drivers are legally compelled 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 doctrine of negligence per se means 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 receive the money you are owed; the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is vital to have passionate and skilled Hazel Crest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and get the financial recovery you deserve.

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

The driver is clearly to blame for their horrible decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers experienced with 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 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 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 prove:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate through recordings, receipts or eyewitness or employee testimony
  • That the customer they served 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 supplies their private guests with alcohol — if the drunk driver was under the age of 21 and became inebriated at the party.

Every year the Illinois Comptroller stipulates 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 caused 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 also owe you compensation. In a negligent entrustment case, someone may owe you damages if they permit someone else to use something which is under the control of the actor if it would not be safe to do so. In a drunk driving accident suit in Hazel Crest, 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 was too drunk to drive.

The Driver's Employer

If you were injured by someone who earns a living as a driver, such as 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:

Experienced Hazel Crest, 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 claim immediately to determine everyone who is responsible for your injuries.

What Damages Are Available for My Hazel Crest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

The civil court system in the United States is based on the theory of making one whole. The concept is that when a person or organization 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 simple fender-bender, being made whole means recovering compensation for lost wages, follow-up doctors' appointments and the pain that comes with rehabilitating from a neck injury for a relatively short period of time. In the most destructive cases, for example if you or a loved one loses a limb, no financial recovery can truly 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 impartial dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the injury, surgeries, prescription or over-the-counter meds, chiropractic appointments and assistive devices such as vehicle improvements. You will also be paid for any treatment, joint replacements or replacement assistive devices you may need 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 caused a disability that no longer allows you to work, 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 gas to and from physical therapy appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you deserve to be compensated for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical expenses or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will ensure the compensation 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 effects on your well-being, which can be anything anything from pain when bending over to tie your shoes to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive difficulties the reckless driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries caused permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your partner 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 not common in personal injury compensation, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and discourage 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 makes the insurance company nervous because punitive damages are not covered under insurance 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. It is clear to us that anyone who drives intoxicated is demonstrating a shameless disregard your safety.

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

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Hazel Crest, 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 whose prioritize more money than morals. That is why each of our Hazel Crest-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their lives 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 sharpening our negotiation and trial skills to deliver maximum compensation for our clients in Hazel Crest and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's terrible behavior did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Hazel Crest, 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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