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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers North Utica, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in North Utica, IL. If a selfish drunk driver injured you or someone you love, call the North Utica, 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 North Utica and throughout Illinois by standing up to bullies and getting them the financial recovery they deserve.

You can do everything you are supposed to to keep other drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe, but irresponsible drivers can still cause unfathomable devastation. Whether you were on your way home for your in-laws or lazily driving around on a Sunday, all of a sudden your entire life was capsized through no fault of your own. The North Utica, 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 you cannot earn a living right now and your life is not the same as it in the recent past. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the compassions, skill and forceful legal advocacy of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of experience, we have secured more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our North Utica, IL clients. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and we do not charge any fees until the final verdict or settlement has been reached.

If you were harmed by a selfish 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 North Utica, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely file charges against the drunk driver who caused the accident. But, only a personal injury lawyer can get you a financial recovery for all of your damages. Skilled, veteran and persistent drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get maximum compensation 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 North Utica, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

That depends on the specifics of your case, and if you have never been injured in an accident before it may be difficult to gauge 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, 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:

  • The drunk driver refuses to be held accountable for their actions. Drunk drivers who cause accidents will go in front of a judge in criminal court, and may be motivated not to cooperate 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 the law in order to prove that the defendant were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance adjuster refuses to offer a full settlement. In a perfect world insurance companies would fulfill their obligation when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, that is not always the case. Even if the driver does take responsibility, the insurance company might try to persuade you that your injuries are pre-existing or that a lawyer will only take money from you. Those are all lies, and a talented drunk driving accident lawyer will not let them get away with them.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is clearly at fault, 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 thoroughly investigate your claim and identify all liable parties. This is especially vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to fairly compensate you.
  • Your injuries need extensive medical treatment. The more severe your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing your damages more difficult, and motivates the insurance company to try to minimize your damages as much as possible. Aggressive and knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyers will not only be able to calculate and demand full compensation, 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. Call us now at (314) 500-HURT to talk 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 Common is Drunk Driving in North Utica, IL and the U.S.?

Seeing how many people choose to drink and drive can be incredibly sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, adding up to roughly one fatality in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have steadily become less common in the last four decades, drunk drivers still account for three-tenths of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and harsh punishments for drunk driving have certainly done a lot to make our roads safer, some reckless North Utica, 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 hurt as a result, you are owed a full financial recovery and the reckless driver needs to pay for the harm they have caused. The North Utica, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts found that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved alcohol. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, over a third tested positive.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | North Utica, 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 enough to considerably hinder someone's abilities behind the wheel. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in visual functions, inability to multi-task, a change in mood and poor judgment. At .05 percent - reached after approximately three drinks - someone experiences decreased coordination, reduced ability to trace movement, difficulty maneuvering and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is vital to exercise great caution and let someone else take the wheel if you are not in the best condition to drive. Unfortunately, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still be left reeling from the terrible consequences of a reckless North Utica, IL driver disregarding your safety, getting behind the wheel drunk and injuring you or a loved one. Just knowing that the negligent driver will likely face criminal charges, steep fees, restrictions on their license and possibly jail time does not make you whole again. You need the knowledgeable and proficient North Utica, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to see things made right. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to discuss your options and begin on the path to being made whole again.

Drunk Driving Laws in North Utica and Illinois

Under 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:

  • It is a third or subsequent violation
  • The driver caused a motor vehicle accident that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to someone else
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that resulted in bodily harm

Other instances in which it is a more serious crime are:

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in North Utica, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the driver had a responsibility to avoid harming 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 use reasonable care is the reason for the accident.
  5. Damages That the accident led to tangible loss, 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 associated economic damages.

There are two factors that make drunk driving accident cases different from most other personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that drivers are legally compelled 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 doctrine 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 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, 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 vital to have tenacious and skilled North Utica, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up for you and get the compensation you are owed.

Are Any Third Parties Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in North Utica, IL?

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

A Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Dram shop rules permit you to 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 less strict than many other states' in that the drunk driver did not have to show significant impairment when they were sold alcohol in order for the vendor to be liable. You just have to demonstrate:

  • That the establishment sold the driver alcohol, which you can demonstrate through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the customer they sold to caused your injuries
  • That the vendor is responsible for the patron being drunk

You can only sue a social host — meaning someone who holds a private party — if the drunk driver was not of legal age to drink and became drunk at the private residence.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller sets 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 resulted in loss of support or loss of society a family member's wrongful death.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If the driver was driving someone else's car, the owner may also owe you compensation. In a negligent entrustment case, someone may owe you damages if they 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 suit in North Utica, 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, for example in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may be partially to blame. Reasons they are liable could include:

Experienced North Utica, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have seen all of these types of negligence claims and know how to hold the appropriate parties liable. When you hire us, we start investigating your accident right away to determine as many liable parties as possible.

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

Civil claims in the United States are based on the doctrine of being made whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone is responsible for your damages, 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 a low-speed crash in a parking lot, being made whole means recovering compensation money you lost from work while recovering, physical therapy appointments and the pain and inconvenience that is a result of rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a relatively short period of time. In the worst cases, for example if you lose a family member, no financial recovery can be expected to make you whole, but the settlement or verdict 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 accident. It is a non-arguable dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the accident, operations, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical therapy appointments and in-home care. 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 — Lost wages refer to the pay you lost from not being physically able to work. If your injury resulted in a long-term or permanent injury that no longer allows you to perform the tasks required of your job, you will also be compensated for the money 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 physical therapy appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you deserve to be repaid for that too.

    In the case of future medical bills or lost earning potential, 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 pain you have been put through, which can be anything anything from pain when standing up and sitting down to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you have life-long physical or cognitive challenges after the accident.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries result in lasting scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your significant other from the affection and intimate relationships you are used to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your family can no longer share the same advice and camaraderie they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury recoveries, and are meant to punish the drunk driver and deter future misbehavior. We are aggressive in our pursuit of punitive damages in drunk driving accident claims. 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 seek punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially dangerous conduct. At Burger Law, we believe that anyone who gets behind the wheel while under the influence knows exactly how reckless they are being.

In addition, our North Utica, IL attorneys have decades of experience winning cases in:

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North Utica, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including selfish drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies who care more about their profits than doing the right thing. That is why each of our North Utica-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has pledged their education and abilities 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 North Utica and throughout Illinois. We know you deserve it because we know you did nothing to put yourself in this situation; someone else's terrible behavior did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the North Utica, 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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