Securing justice after someone else's reckless decision left you to pick up the pieces

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Machesney Park, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Machesney Park, 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 Machesney 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 Machesney Park 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 careless drivers can still put you in harm's way and unfairly injure you. Whether you were on your way to a sports game or just running errands, your life was immediately turned upside down through no fault of your own. The Machesney Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have dedicated their lives to helping people like you get a sense of healing and maximum financial recoveries when they may be feeling like there was no way out. We know the medical bills keep coming in, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and everything seems different than it was before your accident. We will fight for you until there is nothing left to fight. With the dedication, expertise and aggressive legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of defending the rights of the injured, we have recovered more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Machesney Park, IL clients. Talking to us is free, and we do not charge any fees until you receive the settlement check you deserve.

If you were harmed by a reckless drunk driver, see how much your claim 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 Machesney Park, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. But, 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 maximum compensation by:

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

Do I Need Machesney Park, 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 accepts culpability and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, a lawyer likely will not be able to add much value to your claim. However, there are often many good reasons you will want a drunk driving accident lawyer on your side:

  • There is a dispute about liability. Drunk drivers who cause injuries will go in front of a judge in criminal court, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. While a good 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 on state charges. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to utilize their investigative and litigation skills in order to prove that the defendant were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance company refuses to offer a full settlement. While you would like to think insurance companies would fulfill their obligation 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 in the event that the driver admits liability, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries were not actually caused by the accident or that a lawyer will only take money from you. Those are all lies, and a knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyer will fight back and let the insurance adjuster know we mean business.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is clearly liable, other parties may bear partial responsibility, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly lent them the car while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will perform a thorough investigation and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. Finding other liable parties is vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to properly compensate you.
  • Your injuries are severe. The more serious your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing your damages more difficult, and makes it more likely the insurance company will try to claim they do not have to pay for all of your medical expenses. Skilled and compassionate drunk driving accident lawyers will not only fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, 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. Reach out to 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 it is worth it or not for you to hire an attorney for your claim.

How Often Do Drunk Driving Accidents Happen in Missouri and the U.S.?

Seeing how many people choose to drink and drive can be quite sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, adding up to roughly one death in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have steadily declined since 1982, drunk drivers still account for almost a third of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and strict punishments for drunk driving have certainly helped, some reckless Machesney Park, IL residents still decide to jeopardize others' safety because of a misplaced self-centeredness. If you are harmed as a result, you are owed a full financial recovery and the negligent driver needs to pay for the harm they have caused. The Machesney Park, 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 found that almost one-fifth of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of 37.1 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Machesney Park, 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 considerably reduce someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in sight, inability to do two things at once, exaggerated confidence and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - reached after roughly three alcohol beverages - a motorist experiences lowered coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is vital to do you part in protecting other drivers, passengers and pedestrians and let someone else take the wheel 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 devastating consequences of a dangerous Machesney Park, IL driver disregarding your safety, getting behind the wheel drunk and hurting you or a family member. Just knowing that the negligent driver will likely face criminal charges, steep fees, restrictions on their license and possibly jail time is not enough. Trust in the accomplished and talented Machesney 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 find out the best way to proceed and start on the path to healing.

Drunk Driving Laws in Machesney Park 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 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 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 Machesney Park, IL?

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

  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 act in a way that kept you safe.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident resulted in your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the driver's breach of duty caused the accident that caused your injuries.
  5. Damages That the accident led to tangible loss, such as economic damages like lost wages as well as mental anguish. It is important to note that in personal injury claims you cannot secure a financial recovery for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

There are two aspects that make drunk driving accident lawsuits different from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 stipulates that drivers are to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. 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 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 duty of care and breach of duty. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to demonstrate is that the driver caused the accident and your injuries.

While it may seem like that makes a drunk driving case a slam-dunk, drunk drivers often do not want to be held accountable and their insurance companies do what they can to help their profits. That is why it is crucial to have aggressive and accomplished Machesney Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up to bullies and get the financial recovery you are owed.

Are Any Third Parties Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Machesney Park, IL?

The driver is clearly to blame for their selfish decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers familiar 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 laws permit you to sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if you sustained damages. Illinois' dram shop laws are laid out in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law easier to apply 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 establishment sold the driver alcohol, which you can demonstrate with recordings, receipts or eyewitness or employee 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 supplies their private guests with alcohol — if the person who caused your accident was under the age of 21 and became drunk 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 person making a claim for the accident, 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, it is negligent to 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 claim in Machesney Park, 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 had had to much too drink.

The Driver's Employer

If your accident was caused by someone who works 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. 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 Machesney Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your accident. Doing so will not only make sure every at-fault 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 Machesney Park, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Civil claims in the United States are based on the theory of making one whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone is responsible for your injuries, you should receive a financial recovery that is equal to the economic loss and physical pain their negligence put you through. In many car accident claims, for example a simple fender-bender, being made whole means recovering compensation for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the pain and inconvenience involved with rehabilitating from a neck injury for a little while. In the most tragic cases, for example if you or a loved one has permanent disability, no financial recovery can genuinely compensate you, but the amount 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, operations, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical rehabilitation appointments and assistive devices such as braces. 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 be reimbursed for full amount of the wages 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, we will also help you receive compensation for the money you would have earned but are no longer able to.
    • Out-of-pocket expenses — If you had to pay for Uber to and from medical appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, you deserve a financial recovery for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical costs or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will make sure the compensation 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 mental pain you have been put through, which can include anything from pain when carrying groceries in to the emotional impact of not being able to engage in the same activities anymore.
    • Disability for any life-long physical or cognitive impairments the accident caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries result in permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your spouse 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 that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and deter future misbehavior. Punitive damages can — and should — be sought when making a civil claim against a drunk driver. Not only does that help win you the money you deserve, but it also helps secure a fair settlement from the insurance company as their policyholders do not pay for punitive damages in their 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 egregious behavior. At Burger Law, we have learned that anyone who gets behind the wheel while under the influence is very aware of the danger their actions pose.

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

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Machesney Park, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including irresponsible drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies focus more on money than morals. For that reason, each of our Machesney Park-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has pledged their careers to defending the rights of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV or billboards. When we are not working tirelessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are constantly honing our abilities to secure maximum compensation for our clients in Machesney Park and throughout Illinois. We know you deserve it because we know you did nothing to put yourself in this situation; someone else's selfish behavior did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Machesney 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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