Securing justice after a drunk driver's terrible decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Highland Park, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Highland Park, IL. If a reckless drunk driver injured you or a family member, call the Highland Park, 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 Highland Park and throughout Illinois by defending their rights.

You can follow all the rules of the road, but irresponsible drivers can still cause incredible devastation. Whether you were driving home from dinner or lazily driving around on a Saturday, your life was immediately completely disrupted when you did nothing wrong. The Highland Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law truly care about out clients and their cases and families mean something to us. We know the medical bills are piling up, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and your life is not the same as it just a short while ago. We will fight for you until there is nothing left to fight. With the dedication, knowledge and forceful legal advocacy of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of experience, we have gotten more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Highland Park, IL clients. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and we do not charge any fees until you receive the settlement check you deserve.

If you were injured by a reckless drunk driver, find out how much your injuries 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 Highland Park, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

Law enforcement will likely seek a guilty verdict in criminal court. However, a personal injury lawyer is still necessary to get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Talented, 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 Highland Park, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

Every accident is unique, and you can only truly know when to hire a personal injury lawyer by seeking the advise of one. If the driver accepts liability and your injuries are minor and only require a quick trip to the emergency room, 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 not want to admit liability 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 in their criminal case. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to cross-examine the drunk driver in a deposition in order to prove that the defendant were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance adjuster does not want to pay for all of your damages. While you would like to think insurance companies would fulfill their commitment when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, far too often that does not happen. Even if the driver admits liability, the insurance company might try to persuade you that your injuries were not actually caused by the accident or you waited too long to seek medical treatment. Those are all lies, and a talented drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the financial recovery you are owed.
  • There are other parties you can make a claim against. While a drunk driver is clearly liable, other parties may be at fault, such as the driver's employer. 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 pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries require ongoing care. The more serious 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. Tenacious and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

At Burger Law, our consultations and initial investigations are 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 direct with you about whether the insurance company is offering a fair settlement.

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

Understanding just how bad the problem of drinking and driving can be incredibly sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, which is approximately one death in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily become less common in the last 40 years, drunk drivers are still responsible for almost a third of all auto related fatalities. While safe driving campaigns and strict punishments for drunk driving have definitely helped, some careless Highland Park, IL individuals still make the terrible decision to jeopardize others' safety just so they can have a good time and avoid paying for a rideshare. If you are injured as a result, you deserve to be fairly reimbursed with a maximum recovery and the careless driver needs to pay for breaking the rules. The Highland Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts states that almost one-fifth of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved a drunk driver. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of over a third of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

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

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, a level of just .02 percent is enough to significantly hinder someone's abilities behind the wheel. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in sight, inability to multi-task, exaggerated confidence and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - reached after approximately three drinks - a motorist suffers from reduced coordination, reduced ability to track movement, difficulty using the steering wheel and not being able to respond in enough time to emergency situations. It is key to exercise great caution and let someone else take the wheel if you have had too much to drink. Unfortunately, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still be left to pick up the pieces after the terrible consequences of a dangerous Highland Park, IL driver making a selfish decision, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated and harming you or someone you love. Just knowing the harsh penalties that come with a DWI conviction is not enough. Trust in the knowledgeable and aggressive Highland Park, 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 go over your case and start on the road to feeling that true justice was done.

Drunk Driving Laws in Highland Park 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:

  • 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 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 Highland Park, 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 driver did not act in a way that kept you safe.
  3. Cause in Fact That your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
  4. Proximate Cause That the defendant's failure to use reasonable care caused the accident that caused your injuries.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like lost wages as well as pain and suffering. It is important to mention that in personal injury claims you cannot receive compensation for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

There are two aspects that make drunk driving accident cases different from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 stipulates that drivers are required to to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with pedestrians or other vehicles. Meaning you do not have to prove the driver owed you a duty of care, as it is already stipulated under the law. Secondly, the legal philosophy of negligence per se means that anyone who breaks the law 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 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 money you deserve; the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is key to have passionate and experienced Highland Park, 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 Highland Park, IL?

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

A Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Many states have what is known as a dram shop law, under which you may be able sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if you were hurt. Illinois' dram shop laws are specified in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law less strict 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 a visibly intoxicated person. You just have to prove:

  • That the vendor sold the driver alcohol, which you can demonstrate with security footage, receipts or eyewitness or employee testimony
  • That the customer they supplied alcohol to was responsible for your injuries
  • 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 old enough to drink legally and became intoxicated 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 resulted in loss of support or loss of society a family member's wrongful death.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the vehicle, the owner may also owe you compensation. According to the practice of negligent entrustment, a person may be liable 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 suit in Highland Park, 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 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, the driver's employer may also owe you damages. Reasons they are liable could include:

Experienced Highland Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have experience with all of these types of negligence claims and know how to get results in them. When you hire us, we start investigating your case right away to determine everyone who is responsible for your injuries.

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

The civil court system in the United States is based on the doctrine of making one whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone is to blame for your damages, 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 money you lost from work while recovering, follow-up doctors' appointments and the physical strain that is a result of rehabilitating from a neck injury for a relatively short period of time. In the most destructive cases, for example if you lose a family member, no amount of money can be expected to compensate you, 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 an impartial dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any urgent care, surgeries, medications, physical therapy appointments and in-home care. You will also be paid for any medical bills that will arise in the future.
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity — Lost wages refer to the pay you lost from not being physically able to work. If your injury resulted in a disability that no longer permits you to perform the tasks required of your job, 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 gas to and from medical appointments, or had to invest in childcare while you were recovering, you need to be compensated for that too.

    In the case of future medical expenses 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 refers to noneconomic damages as "intangible" damages, "including but not limited to":
    • Pain and suffering refers to the physical and mental burdens you have been put through, 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 life-long physical or cognitive difficulties the selfish driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused lasting scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your partner from the love and intimate relationships you once shared.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same counsel and camaraderie that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the defendant and discourage future misbehavior. We are aggressive in our pursuit of punitive damages in drunk driving accident claims. Not only does that increase your compensation, but it also makes the insurance company nervous as there is no coverage for punitive damages Pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers may be awarded punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially dangerous conduct. At Burger Law, we have learned that anyone who gets behind the wheel while intoxicated is very aware of the danger their actions pose.

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

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Highland Park, 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 focus more on their profits than doing the right thing. That is why each of our Highland Park-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has committed their careers to defending the rights of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not working relentlessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are constantly honing our negotiation and trial skills to get the best results for our clients in Highland Park and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's irresponsible decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Highland Park, 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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