Getting you the compensation you deserve after a drunk driver's terrible decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Mount Vernon, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Mount Vernon, IL. If a selfish drunk driver harmed you or a loved one, call the Mount Vernon, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free case review. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Mount Vernon and throughout Illinois by fighting on their behalf so they can focus on healing.

You can do everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones, but thoughtless drivers can still change your life without warning. Whether you were on your way home for your in-laws or just running errands, your life was unexpectedly upended when you did nothing wrong. The Mount Vernon, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law to getting the best possible outcomes for our clients and seeing them made whole again. We know the medical bills are piling up, you are losing time off work and your life is not the same as it in the not-too-distance past. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the compassions, knowledge and forceful legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our more than 30 years of defending the rights of the injured, we have gotten over $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Mount Vernon and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until we win your case.

If you were injured by a reckless drunk driver, find out how much your claim may be worth by utilizing our free personal injury calculator.

Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois

521 W. Main Street
Suite 201 O
Belleville, IL 62220

Phone: (618) 500-4878

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What Can Mount Vernon, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

A prosecutor will likely file charges against the drunk driver who caused the accident. Still, you will still need a personal injury lawyer to confront the drunk driver in civil court and get you full compensation for your injuries. Talented, accomplished 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 Mount Vernon, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

Every crash is unique, and you can only truly know when to hire a personal injury lawyer by seeking a consultation with one. If the driver is taking responsibility for his actions 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 many situations in which a drunk driving accident lawyer is the only way to get fair compensation:

  • The drunk driver will not take responsibility for their actions. Drunk drivers who injure people are likely looking at criminal charges as well, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company in order to not face fines, a suspended license and possibly jail time. While drunk driving charges can sometimes be dropped or reduced, 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 get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance company does not want to pay for all of your damages. While you would like to think insurance companies would fulfill their duty when one of their policyholders decides to make a selfish decision that winds up injuring you, that is not always the case. Even if the driver admits liability, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries are the result of other trauma or that they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. Those are all deceptions aimed at devaluing your claim, and an accomplished 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 obviously at fault, other parties may bear partial responsibility, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly let them use the vehicle while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify all liable parties. Finding other liable parties is crucial when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries are severe. The more significant your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more difficult, and will cause the insurance company to fight back against giving you a fair settlement. Skilled and knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyers will not only fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, but we will ensure you receive all of the medical you need to recover.

At Burger Law, our consultations and initial investigations are free. Reach out to us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak directly to a drunk driving accident lawyer experienced with Illinois laws who will be direct with you about whether we can add to your claim.

How Common is Drunk Driving in Mount Vernon, 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, which is approximately one fatality every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have steadily become less common since 1982, drunk drivers are still responsible for 29 percent of all auto related deaths. While safe driving campaigns and strict punishments for drunk driving have certainly helped, some careless Mount Vernon, IL individuals still choose to put others at risk because of a misplaced self-centeredness. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you are owed a full financial recovery and the careless driver needs to be held accountable for breaking the rules. The Mount Vernon, 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 almost 20 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of almost 40 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Mount Vernon, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, a level of even .02 percent is sufficient to greatly hinder someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in sight, inability to perform two tasks simultaneously, exaggerated confidence and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - reached after approximately three alcohol beverages - a person experiences decreased coordination, reduced ability to trace movement, challenges maneuvering and not being able to respond quickly to unexpected things on the road. It is vital to exercise great caution and find other ways of transport if you are not in the best condition to drive. Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still experience the terrible consequences of a thoughtless Mount Vernon, IL driver disregarding your safety, driving drunk and hurting you or a family member. Just knowing that the person who hurt you will face harsh repercussions in a criminal case cannot truly compensate you and your family for all of the ways they have impacted your life. You need the savvy and aggressive Mount Vernon, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to secure the financial settlement you and your family need and are owed. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to go over your case and start on the road to feeling that true justice was achieved.

Drunk Driving Laws in Mount Vernon and Illinois

According 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 drunk driving 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 lead to personal injury

Third and fourth violations are Class 2 Felonies, a fifth violation is a Class 1 Felony, and sixth and ensuing violations are Class X Felonies.

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Mount Vernon, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the driver had a responsibility to avoid harming you.
  2. Breach of Duty That the driver did not do what they should have in order to avoid hurting you.
  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 was the direct cause of the accident.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as pain and suffering. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were also economic damages.

There are two factors that set drunk driving accidents apart from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 stipulates that motorists have an obligation to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. Meaning a driver automatically owed you a duty of care. Secondly, the legal principle of negligence per se means that anyone who violates a state statute is automatically considered to have breached their duty of care. Therefore, in drunk driving cases the first two elements are taken care of as long as you have evidence that the driver was inebriated. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to prove 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 financial recovery you are owed; the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is critical to have aggressive and experienced Mount Vernon, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and get the compensation you are owed.

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

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

A Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Many states have what is known as a dram shop rule, under which you may be able sue a licensed alcohol vendor 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 easier to apply 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 demonstrate:

  • That the vendor sold the driver alcohol, which you can show through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the customer they served caused the drunk driving accident
  • 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 of legal age to drink and became drunk at the party.

Annually, 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, those limits are $77,787.30 for each injured party, or $95,073.37 if the accident led to loss of support or loss of society due to the wrongful death of a loved one.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If you were injured by a vehicle that was not being driven by the owner, you may be able to file a suit against the owner. In a negligent entrustment case, someone may owe you damages 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 case in Mount Vernon, 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 contracted and directed the driver. Examples of negligence on the part of the employer could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Mount Vernon, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your accident. Doing so will not only make sure every liable 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 Mount Vernon, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Civil claims in the United States are based on the principle of being made whole. "Being made whole" means that when another party is responsible for your damages, 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 a low-speed crash in a parking lot, that might mean paying for lost wages, physical therapy appointments and the pain that comes with rehabilitating from a neck injury for a few months. In the most destructive cases, for example if you lose a loved one, no amount of money can be expected to make you whole, but the financial recovery should be great enough to provide a least some sense of comfort.

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 a firm dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the accident, surgeries, medications, physical rehabilitation appointments and assistive devices such as crutches. You will also be reimbursed for any medical bills that will 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 work, 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 transportation to and from chiropractic appointments, or had to invest in childcare while you were recovering, you need to be repaid for that too.

    If we have to take into consideration future medical bills 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 tribulations you have been put through, which can be anything anything from pain when standing up and sitting down to the emotional impact of not being able to pick up your kids anymore.
    • Disability if you sustained permanent physical or cognitive challenges because of the accident.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries result in lasting 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 shared.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same counsel and care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury claims, and are intended to punish the defendant and discourage others from making the same mistakes. Punitive damages can — and should — be sought when making a civil claim against a drunk driver. Not only does that maximize your compensation, but it also makes the insurance company nervous as there is no coverage for punitive damages Under 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 reckless behavior. 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, we have extensive experience winning the following cases for our Mount Vernon, IL clients:

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Mount Vernon, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including selfish drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies focus more on think it is acceptable to withhold the compensation you deserve. For that reason, each of our Mount Vernon-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has devoted their careers to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not investigating claims or in the courtroom defending the rights of our clients, our drunk driving accident lawyers are consistently honing our lawyer skills to deliver the best results for our clients in Mount Vernon and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's selfish actions did. For expert, passionate and tenacious representation, call the Mount Vernon, 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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