Securing justice after a drunk driver's reckless decision left you to pick up the pieces

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Oak Forest, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Oak Forest, 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 Oak Forest, 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 Oak Forest and throughout Illinois by standing up to bullies and getting them the financial recovery they deserve.

You can do everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones, but irresponsible drivers can still change your life in a heartbeat. Whether you were on your way to a sports game or lazily driving around on a Sunday, all of a sudden your entire life was capsized when you did nothing wrong. The Oak Forest, 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 accumulating, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and everything seems different than it was in the recent past. You do not have to go through this alone. With the dedication, knowledge and aggressive legal counsel of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our more than 30 years of experience, we have recovered over $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Oak Forest, IL clients. Our initial consultation and investigation is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you get the best possible compensation you deserve.

If you were injured by a thoughtless drunk driver, discover 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 Oak Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely seek a guilty verdict in criminal court. But, 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. Knowledgeable, veteran and tenacious 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 Oak Forest, 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 case. If there is no dispute about who is at fault and your injuries are minor and only require an appointment with your primary care physician, it may not be worth it to hire an attorney. However, there are many situations in which a drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to significantly add value to your claim:

  • There is a dispute about liability. Drunk drivers who injure people will go in front of a judge in criminal court, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company in order to not be sentenced in criminal court. While a capable 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 cross-examine the drunk driver in a deposition in order to get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance company is not being fair. 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 is willing to be held accountable, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries are the result of other trauma or that a lawyer will only take money from you. Those are all lies, and a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the compensation you deserve.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is obviously at fault, other entities may bear partial responsibility, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly let them use the car while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will perform a comprehensive investigation and identify all liable parties. This is especially beneficial when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries require ongoing care. The more serious your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes putting a dollar amount on your damages more challenging, and will cause the insurance company to fight back against giving you a fair settlement. Aggressive and knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyers will not only fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

At Burger Law, we answer all of your questions for free. Call us now at (314) 500-HURT to talk directly to a drunk driving accident lawyer experienced with Illinois laws who will be honest 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 28 people are killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers, which is approximately one death in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily been on the decline since 1982, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While safe driving campaigns and harsh punishments for drunk driving have certainly done a lot to make our roads safer, some careless Oak Forest, IL residents still make the terrible decision to jeopardize others' safety because of a misplaced self-centeredness. If you are harmed as a result, you deserve to be fairly compensated with a maximum recovery and the reckless driver needs to pay for the harm they have caused. The Oak Forest, 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 fatal crashes 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 | Oak Forest, 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 greatly impede someone's driving skills. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to do two things at once, exaggerated confidence and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - reached after approximately three alcohol beverages - a person experiences decreased coordination, inability to trace moving objects, challenges using the steering wheel 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. Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still experience the horrible and unfair consequences of a thoughtless Oak Forest, IL motorist not caring about the rules, getting behind the wheel 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 experienced and skilled Oak Forest, 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 find out the best way to proceed and start on the path to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Oak Forest and Illinois

Pursuant 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:

  • 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 another
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that lead to 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 Oak Forest, 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 keep you safe.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant did not act in a way that kept you safe.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident led to your injuries.
  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 noneconomic damages. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were also monetary losses.

There are two factors that set drunk driving accidents apart from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 dictates that drivers 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 doctrine of negligence per se means that anyone who breaks the law is negligent as a matter of law. Therefore, in drunk driving cases the first two elements are taken care of under the condition that you have evidence that the driver was intoxicated. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to show is that the driver caused the accident and that that is how you sustained your injuries.

None of that means you should take the success of your case for granted; drunk drivers often do not want to be held accountable and their insurance companies do what they can to help their bottom line. That is why it is crucial to have dedicated and talented Oak Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up to bullies and get the financial recovery you deserve.

Who Else Can I Sue for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Oak Forest, IL?

The driver is clearly liable 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 any of the other following parties share liability:

A Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Dram shop laws 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 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 through recordings, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the patron they supplied alcohol to was responsible for the drunk driving accident
  • 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 under the age of 21 and became intoxicated at the party.

Annually, the Illinois Comptroller sets 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 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 make a claim against the owner. In a negligent entrustment case, someone may owe you damages if they permit someone else to use a thing which is under the control of the actor if it would not be safe to do so. In a drunk driving accident suit in Oak Forest, 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 was in no condition to operate a vehicle.

The Driver's Employer

If you were injured 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:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Oak Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your claim. 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 Oak Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Tort claims in the United States are based on the principle of being made whole. The concept is that when a person or organization injures you, 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, that might mean paying for lost wages, physical therapy appointments and the pain that comes with rehabilitating from a neck injury for a relatively short period of time. In the worst cases, for example if you lose a family member, no financial recovery can genuinely compensate you, but the settlement or verdict should be great enough to provide a least some sense of peace.

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 injury. It is an unbiased dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any urgent care, surgeries, medications, chiropractic appointments and in-home nursing. 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 caused a disability that no longer permits you to perform the tasks required of your job, you will also be compensated for the salary you would have made in the future, but for the injuries.
    • Out-of-pocket expenses — If you had to pay for transportation to and from physical therapy appointments, or had to invest in childcare while you were recovering, you deserve to be reimbursed for that too.

    In the case of future medical expenses 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 mental effects on your well-being, which can be anything anything from difficulty sleeping in certain positions to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you sustained life-long physical or cognitive challenges after the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused lasting scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your partner from the love and intimate relationships you are used to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same advice and care that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury claims, and are meant to punish the drunk driver and deter others from making the same mistakes. When we make a claim against drunk drivers, we always seek punitive damages. Not only does that increase your financial recovery, 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 egregious conduct. It is clear to us that anyone who gets behind the wheel while drunk is demonstrating a flagrant lack of respect for your safety.

In addition, our Oak Forest, IL attorneys have decades of experience winning cases in:

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Oak Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including selfish drivers who do not want to take responsibility for their actions and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more think it is acceptable to withhold the money you are owed. For that reason, each of our Oak Forest-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has committed their education and abilities to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV or billboards. When we are not working relentlessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are constantly fine-tuning our negotiation and trial skills to secure great recoveries for our clients in Oak Forest and throughout Illinois. We know you deserve it because we know you did nothing to put yourself in this situation; someone else's horrible behavior did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Oak Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.

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