Making you whole again after a drunk driver's terrible decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Joliet, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Joliet, 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 Joliet, 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 Joliet and throughout Illinois by standing up to bullies and getting them the financial recovery they deserve.

You can follow all the rules of the road, but irresponsible drivers can still change your life without warning. Whether you were on your way to a sports game or lazily driving around on a Saturday, all of a sudden your entire life was turned upside down when you did nothing wrong. The Joliet, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have dedicated their careers to helping people like you get a sense of healing and the best possible financial recoveries when they may be feeling like there was no way out. 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. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the dedication, skill and tenacious 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 won over $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Joliet and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until the final verdict or settlement has been reached.

If you were injured by a selfish drunk driver, discover how much your damages 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 Joliet, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

A prosecutor will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. However, only a personal injury lawyer can get you full compensation for your injuries. Skilled, experienced and tenacious 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 Joliet, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

The only way to know when to hire a personal injury lawyer is by having a professional examine the details of your accident. If the driver is taking responsibility for his actions and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, you may very well be able to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company. However, there are many situations in which a drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to significantly add value to your claim:

  • The drunk driver refuses to be held accountable for their actions. Drunk drivers who injure people will probably be prosecuted, and may not want to admit guilt in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. While a capable defense lawyer may be able to get a drunk driver off on criminal charges, 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 obtain key evidence in order to get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance company does not want to pay for all of your damages. In a perfect world insurance companies would recognize their duty when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, 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 persuade you that your injuries are pre-existing or they only have to pay for some of your medical care. Those are all deceptions aimed at minimizing your claim, and an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the money you are owed.
  • There are other parties you can make a claim against. While a drunk driver is clearly at fault, other entities may be at fault, such as the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will conduct a detailed investigation and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. Finding other liable parties is vital when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries will incur future medical expenses. The more serious your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes valuing your damages more complex, and makes it more likely the insurance company will try to claim they do not have to pay for all of your medical expenses. Persistent and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only be able to calculate and demand full compensation, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

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 honest with you about whether you need an attorney to get the best results in your case.

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, which is approximately one fatality in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have consistently been on the decline in the last 40 years, drunk drivers are still responsible for three-tenths of all auto related fatalities. While safe driving campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have definitely done a lot to make our roads safer, some careless Joliet, IL individuals still make the terrible decision to put others at risk while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. If you are harmed as a result, you deserve to be justly compensated with a maximum recovery and the reckless driver needs to pay for breaking the rules. The Joliet, 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 20 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of over a third of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Joliet, 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 just .02 percent is enough to substantially impair someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in sight, inability to multi-task, exaggerated confidence and poor judgment. At .05 percent - reached after roughly three alcohol beverages - a person experiences reduced coordination, reduced ability to trace movement, difficulty using the steering wheel and not being able to respond quickly to unexpected things on the road. It is vital 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 reeling from the horrible and unfair consequences of a reckless Joliet, IL driver disregarding your safety, driving drunk and hurting you or someone you love. Just knowing that the negligent driver will likely face criminal charges, steep fees, restrictions on their license and possibly jail time is not enough. You need the knowledgeable and skilled Joliet, 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 begin on the path to healing.

Drunk Driving Laws in Joliet and Illinois

Pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, driving while drunk on under the influence of drugs is a Class A Misdemeanor. However, a it 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 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

Other instances in which the penalty is more severe are:

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Joliet, 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 defendant failed or was negligent in that duty.
  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 monetary damages like medical bills as well as emotional distress. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were also economic damages.

There are two aspects that set drunk driving accidents apart from most other personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 dictates that motorists have an obligation to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. Meaning the first element is a given. Secondly, the legal principle of negligence per se states 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 show 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 are owed; the truth is that many drunk drivers try to avoid taking responsibility and their insurance company will do what they can to help them. That is why it is key to have tenacious and accomplished Joliet, IL drunk driving accident lawyers by your side to fight until you get the best results in your claim.

Is Anybody Else Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Joliet, IL?

The driver is clearly to blame for their reckless decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers familiar with Illinois law will be able to conduct a full investigation and determine if anyone else is at fault:

A Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Many states have what is called a dram shop rule, under which you may be able sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if you sustained damages. Illinois' dram shop laws are stipulated in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law is different from many other states' in that the drunk driver did not have to be visibly drunk when they were sold alcohol in order for the vendor to be liable. You just have to prove:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate with surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the patron they served was responsible for your injuries
  • That the vendor is responsible for the patron being drunk

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 inebriated at the party.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller stipulates dram shop liability limits on how much compensation you can receive in a dram shop case. As of Jan. 20, 2022, the maximum is $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 also owe you compensation. In a negligent entrustment case, a person may be liable if they permit a third person to use something which is under the control of the actor if that would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. In a drunk driving accident claim in Joliet, 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 your accident was caused by a commercial driver, such as 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. 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 Joliet, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your accident. Doing so will not only make sure every negligent party is held responsible, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

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

The civil court system in the United States is based on the doctrine 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 and inconvenience that is a result of rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a little while. In the most tragic cases, for example if you lose a family member, no amount of money can be expected to compensate you, but the financial recovery should be great enough to provide a least some sense of restitution.

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

  1. Economic damages — This the totaling of all the bills and lost income related to your injury. It is a non-arguable dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any urgent care, surgeries, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical rehabilitation appointments and assistive devices such as wheelchairs. You will also receive compensation for any medical expenses 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 long-term or permanent injury that no longer permits you to perform the tasks required of your job, 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 gas to and from medical appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, you deserve to be reimbursed for that too.

    If we have to take into consideration 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 emotional burdens you have been put through, which can be anything anything from difficulty turning your head to the emotional impact of not being able to engage in the same activities anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive impairments the selfish driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your spouse from the love and intimate relationships you are used to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your loved ones can no longer share the same guidance and care that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury compensation, and are meant to punish the drunk driver and deter future misbehavior. When we sue drunk drivers, we always seek punitive damages. Not only does that increase your compensation, but it also puts the insurance company on their heels because there is no coverage for punitive damages According to 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 conduct. At Burger Law, we believe that anyone who drives intoxicated knows exactly how reckless they are being.

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

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Joliet, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including irresponsible drivers who do not want to take responsibility for their actions and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more money than morals. For that reason, each of our Joliet-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their careers to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We have no interest in TV commercials or billboards. When we are not working relentlessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are consistently sharpening our negotiation and trial skills to deliver maximum compensation for our clients in Joliet and throughout Illinois. We know you deserve it because we know you did nothing to put yourself in this situation; someone else's irresponsible actions did. For skillful, passionate and relentless representation, call the Joliet, 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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