Securing justice after someone else's selfish decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Lake Forest, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Lake Forest, 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 Lake Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a no-risk, no-obligation case review. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Lake Forest and throughout Illinois by defending their rights.

You can do everything you are supposed to to keep other drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe, but irresponsible drivers can still cause incredible damage. Whether you were driving home from dinner or lazily driving around on the weekend, all of a sudden your entire life was upended through no fault of your own. The Lake Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have dedicated their careers to helping people in similar circumstances get a sense of healing and maximum compensation when they may be feeling like there was no way out. We know the medical bills are accumulating, you you cannot earn a living right now and it is hard to get the same enjoyment out of life that you did just a short while ago. We will fight for you until there is nothing left to fight. With the compassions, skill and aggressive legal counsel of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of defending the rights of the injured, we have secured over $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Lake Forest, 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 harmed by a reckless drunk driver, find out 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 Lake Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

Law enforcement will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. But, only a personal injury lawyer can get you a financial recovery for all of your damages. Knowledgeable, experienced and tenacious drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get justice by:

At Burger Law, we know auto accident claims and how to stand up to bullies.

Do I Need Lake Forest, 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 determine 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, there are many situations in which a drunk driving accident lawyer is the only way to get fair compensation:

  • The other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who injure people are likely looking at criminal charges as well, and may not want to admit liability in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. While while not every drunk driver is found guilty, 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 utilize their investigative and litigation skills in order to hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance company does not want to pay for all of your damages. While you would like to think insurance companies would fulfill their obligation when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, far too often that does not happen. Even in the event that the driver is willing to be held accountable, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries are the result of other trauma or they only have to pay for some of your medical care. None of that is true, and a knowledgeable 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 clearly to blame, other parties may bear partial responsibility, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly lent them the vehicle while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify all liable parties. This is especially beneficial when the policy limits are not sufficient to fairly compensate you.
  • Your injuries will incur future medical expenses. The more grave your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, 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. Aggressive and compassionate 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, we answer all of your questions for free. 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 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 consistently been on the decline in the last four decades, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly helped, some reckless Lake Forest, IL individuals still make the irresponsible decision to disregard others' well-being just so they can have a good time and avoid paying for a rideshare. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you deserve to be justly compensated with a complete recovery and the careless driver needs to pay for breaking the rules. The Lake Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will use or skills and dedication to see wrongs made right.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts reported that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved a drunk driver. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, almost 40 percent tested positive.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Lake Forest, 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 sufficient to greatly hinder someone's driving skills. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in sight, inability to perform two tasks simultaneously, exaggerated confidence and poor judgment. At .05 percent - the product of about three drinks - a motorist experiences reduced coordination, reduced ability to follow movement, difficulty maneuvering 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 been drinking. Regrettably, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still experience the horrible and unfair consequences of a thoughtless Lake Forest, IL driver disregarding your safety, getting behind the wheel drunk and harming you or a family member. Just knowing the harsh penalties that come with a DWI conviction is not enough. You need the accomplished and proficient Lake Forest, 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 find out the best way to proceed and start on the path to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Lake Forest 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 drunk driving 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 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 Lake Forest, IL?

Generally, when you are proving negligence in a personal injury claim, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers must prove the five elements of negligence:

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant had a responsibility to keep you safe.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant did not use reasonable care.
  3. Cause in Fact That your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
  4. Proximate Cause That the driver's negligence was the direct cause of the accident.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like lost wages as well as mental anguish. It is important to note that in personal injury claims you cannot make a claim for for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

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 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 stipulates that anyone who violates a state statute automatically did not act in a reasonable manner to avoid injuring you. Therefore, in drunk driving cases the first two elements are taken care of as long as you have evidence that the driver was intoxicated. 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 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 imperative to have tenacious and accomplished Lake Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and fight until you get the compensation you are owed.

Are Any Third Parties Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Lake Forest, IL?

It is important to find all liable parties, especially if the driver has policy limits that do not fully compensate you for your damages. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to make a claim against:

A Bar, Restaurant 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 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 a visibly intoxicated person. You just have to show:

  • That the vendor sold the driver alcohol, which you can demonstrate with recordings, receipts or eyewitness or employee depositions
  • That the customer they served caused the drunk driving accident
  • 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 furnishes liquor to a guest in a private residence — if the driver at fault for your injuries was under the age of 21 and became intoxicated at the party.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller places dram shop liability limits on how much a bar, restaurant 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 resulted in loss of support or loss of society due to the wrongful death of a loved one.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If the driver was driving someone else's car, you may be able to file a suit against the owner. In a negligent entrustment claim, a person may be liable if they permit a third person 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 Lake Forest, 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 had had to much too drink.

The Driver's Employer

If your accident was caused by someone who earns a living 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 contracted and directed the driver. Reasons they are liable could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Lake Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct an exhaustive investigation into your claim. Doing so will not only make sure every liable party is held accountable, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

What Compensation Can I Recover for My Lake Forest, 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, that might mean paying for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the pain and inconvenience that is a result of rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a little while. In the worst cases, for example if you or a loved one loses a limb, no amount of money can genuinely make you whole, but the amount should be great enough to provide a least some sense of peace.

You can typically recover three types of damages in a personal injury claim:

  1. Economic damages — This the totaling of all the bills and lost income related to your accident. It is a firm dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any emergency room visits, operations, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical rehabilitation appointments and in-home nursing. You will also be reimbursed 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 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 gas to and from chiropractic appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, you deserve to be repaid for that too.

    In the case of future medical costs or lost earning capacity, drunk driving accident lawyers will ensure the recovery 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 emotional hardships you have been put through, which can include anything from pain when going up and down the stairs to the emotional impact of not being able to engage in the same activities anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive impairments the irresponsible driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your partner from the companionship and intimate relationships you once had.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your loved ones can no longer share the same guidance and camaraderie they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury claims, and are meant to punish the drunk driver and discourage future misbehavior. When we make a claim against drunk drivers, we always pursue punitive damages. Not only does that increase your financial recovery, but it also helps secure a fair settlement from the insurance company because punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies According to 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can seek punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially reckless conduct. It is clear to us that anyone who gets behind the wheel while intoxicated is demonstrating a flagrant lack of respect for your safety.

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

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Lake Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including reckless drivers do not respect other people's safety and resistant insurance companies who care more about their profits than doing the right thing. That is why each of our Lake Forest-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their careers to standing up for 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 consistently honing our abilities to deliver the best results for our clients in Lake Forest and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's horrible decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Lake Forest, 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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