Getting you the compensation you deserve after someone else's reckless decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Melrose Park, IL

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

You can follow all the rules of the road, but thoughtless drivers can still change your life without warning. Whether you were driving home from dinner or just running errands, your life was unexpectedly completely disrupted when you did nothing wrong. The Melrose 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 are losing time off work and everything seems different than it was before your accident. You do not have to go through this alone. With the dedication, expertise and tenacious legal advocacy of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of litigating and trying cases, we have recovered over $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Melrose Park, IL clients. Our initial consultation and investigation is free, and we do not charge any fees until you get the maximum financial recovery you deserve.

If you were hurt by a thoughtless drunk driver, find out how much your injuries may be worth by using 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 Melrose Park, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely do everything they can to convict a drunk driver criminally. However, you will still need a personal injury lawyer to confront the drunk driver in civil court and get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Skilled, seasoned and tenacious drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get justice 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 Melrose Park, 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 the driver is taking responsibility for his actions and your injuries are minor and only require an appointment with your primary care physician, a lawyer likely will not be able to add much value to your claim. However, many other circumstances require legal representation for the best results:

  • The other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who injure people will probably be prosecuted, and may be motivated not to cooperate 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 obtain key evidence in order to prove that the defendant were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance company is not being fair. In a perfect world insurance companies would realize their obligation when one of their policyholders decides to make a reckless decision that winds up injuring you, an insurance adjusters real job is to save the company money, not fairly compensate you. 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 that they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. Those are all deceptions aimed at minimizing your claim, and an accomplished drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the money you deserve.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is clearly at fault, other entities may bear partial responsibility, such as the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will conduct a detailed investigation and identify all liable parties. This is especially important when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries need extensive medical treatment. The more significant your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes valuing your damages more difficult, and motivates the insurance adjuster to try to devalue your damages as much as possible. Skilled and compassionate drunk driving accident lawyers will not only ensure you receive the entirety of your damages, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

At Burger Law, we answer all of your questions for free. Reach out to us now at (314) 500-HURT to talk for a candid conversation with a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar 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 Melrose Park, IL and the U.S.?

Understanding just how bad the problem of drinking and driving can be pretty sobering. Every day 28 people die in accidents caused by drunk drivers, adding up to roughly one fatality every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily declined in the last 40 years, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While safe driving campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly done a lot to make our roads safer, some reckless Melrose Park, IL individuals still make the irresponsible decision to disregard others' well-being just so they party and skip on paying for a rideshare. If you are harmed as a result, you deserve to be justly compensated with a complete recovery and the reckless driver needs to pay for what they did. The Melrose Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will use or skills and dedication to see wrongs made right.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts states that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved a drunk driver. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of 37.1 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Melrose 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 sufficient to significantly impede someone's abilities behind the wheel. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in visual functions, inability to do two things at once, exaggerated confidence and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - the product of roughly three alcohol beverages - a person suffers from decreased coordination, reduced ability to track movement, challenges steering and not being able to respond quickly to emergency situations. It is crucial to do you part in protecting other drivers, passengers and pedestrians and let someone else take the wheel if you have had too much to drink. Regrettably, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still be left to pick up the pieces after the terrible consequences of a dangerous Melrose Park, IL motorist not caring about the rules, getting behind the wheel drunk and harming you or someone you care about. 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 knowledgeable and proficient Melrose Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to see things made right. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to find out the best way to proceed and start on the path to being made whole again.

Drunk Driving Laws in Melrose 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 drunk driving becomes "aggravated driving under the influence" and a Class 4 Felony if:

  • It is a third or subsequent violation
  • 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 bodily harm

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 Melrose Park, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the driver 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 your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
  4. Proximate Cause That the driver's failure to act in a way that avoided hurting you is the reason for the accident.
  5. Damages That the accident led to tangible loss, such as economic damages like damage to your car as well as emotional distress. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were associated economic damages.

There are two factors that make drunk driving accident lawsuits different from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 dictates that motorists have an obligation 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 theory of negligence per se states that anyone who breaks the law 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 is that the driver caused the accident and injured you.

While it may seem like that makes a drunk driving case a slam-dunk, the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is critical to have dedicated and talented Melrose Park, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and get the best results in your claim.

Is Anybody Else Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Melrose Park, 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 Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Many states have what is referred to as a dram shop rule, under which you may be able sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if the accident caused you injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are stipulated in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law more liberal than 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 recordings, receipts or eyewitness or employee depositions
  • That the patron they sold to caused 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 of legal age to drink and became drunk at the private residence.

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, 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 the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the vehicle, the owner may also owe you compensation. In a negligent entrustment claim, someone may owe you damages 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 suit in Melrose 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 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. Negligence that could result in liability could include:

Experienced Melrose 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 hold the appropriate parties liable. When you hire us, we start investigating your case right away to find as many liable parties as possible.

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

Personal injury claims in the United States are based on the doctrine of making one whole. "Being made whole" means that when another party injures you, you should be paid a dollar amount commensurate to the extent of your damages. In many car accident claims, for example a rear-end accident, that might mean paying money you lost from work while recovering, chiropractic appointments and the pain and inconvenience involved with rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a few months. In the most destructive cases, for example if you lose a family member, no financial recovery can be expected to make you whole, but the amount should be great enough to provide a least some sense of comfort.

There are three categories 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 objective dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the accident, operations, medications, physical rehabilitation appointments and assistive devices such as wheelchairs. You will also receive compensation 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 able to work while you recovered. 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 Uber to and from chiropractic appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you deserve to be compensated for that too.

    In the case of future medical costs 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 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 be anything anything from pain when sleeping in certain positions to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive difficulties the accident caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries caused lasting scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your partner from the love and intimate relationships you once had.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same guidance and camaraderie they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury claims, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and discourage others from making the same mistakes. When we sue drunk drivers, we always seek punitive damages. Not only does that help get you the money you are owed, but it also helps secure a fair settlement from the insurance company as there is no coverage for punitive damages Under 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. At Burger Law, our experience tells us that anyone who gets behind the wheel while under the influence knows exactly how reckless they are being.

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

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Melrose Park, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate 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 Melrose Park-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their lives to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV or billboards. When we are not investigating claims or in the courtroom defending the rights of our clients, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly honing our negotiation and trial skills to deliver the best results for our clients in Melrose Park and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's terrible actions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Melrose 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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