Getting you the compensation you deserve after a drunk driver's reckless decision left you to pick up the pieces

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Ottawa, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Ottawa, 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 Ottawa, 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 Ottawa 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 careless drivers can still change your life without warning. Whether you were driving home from dinner or lazily driving around on a Saturday, your life was unexpectedly turned upside down through no fault of your own. The Ottawa, 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 it is hard to get the same enjoyment out of life that you did in the not-too-distance past. We will fight for you until there is nothing left to fight. With the compassions, expertise and unshakable 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 won over $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Ottawa and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Our initial consultation and investigation is free, and you do not owe us a thing until we win your case.

If you were harmed by a selfish drunk driver, find out how much your injuries 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 Ottawa, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

Law enforcement will likely do everything they can to convict a drunk driver criminally. Still, you will still need a personal injury lawyer to stand up to the drunk driver in civil court and get you a financial recovery for all of your damages. Talented, experienced and relentless drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get the best possible financial recovery 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 Ottawa, 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 there is no dispute about who is at fault and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, it probably will not be too difficult to get fair compensation. However, many other circumstances require legal representation for the best results:

  • The other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who cause accidents will probably be prosecuted, and may be motivated not to cooperate in order to not be sentenced in criminal court. 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 get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance adjuster is not being fair. In a perfect world insurance companies would recognize their duty when one of their policyholders decides to make a selfish decision that ends up injuring 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 persuade you that your injuries are pre-existing or they only have to pay for some of your medical care. None of that is true, and a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer will fight back and let the insurance adjuster know we mean business.
  • There are other parties you can make a claim against. While a drunk driver is clearly at fault, other parties may be at fault, such as the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. Finding other liable parties is vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to fairly compensate you.
  • Your injuries will incur future medical expenses. 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. Tenacious and dedicated 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, we answer all of your questions for 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 you need an attorney to get the best results in your case.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

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 fatality every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have consistently been on the decline since 1982, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and strict punishments for drunk driving have certainly helped, some careless Ottawa, IL residents still make the terrible decision 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 reckless driver needs to be held responsible for what they did. The Ottawa, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will use or skills and dedication to see wrongs made right.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts found that 19.7 percent 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 | Ottawa, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, a level of only .02 percent is enough to significantly hinder someone's abilities behind the wheel. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in sight, inability to multi-task, exaggerated confidence and poor judgment. At .05 percent - reached after approximately three drinks - a person suffers from reduced coordination, reduced ability to trace movement, challenges steering and not being able to respond quickly to unexpected things on the road. It is imperative to exercise great caution and have a back up plan if you are intoxicated. Regrettably, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still be left to pick up the pieces after the devastating consequences of a thoughtless Ottawa, IL driver making a selfish decision, getting behind the wheel drunk and harming you or someone you care about. Just knowing that the person who hurt you will face harsh repercussions in a criminal case is not enough. Trust in the experienced and tenacious Ottawa, 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 begin on the road to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Ottawa and Illinois

Pursuant 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:

  • The driver had more than two previous DUI offenses
  • An accident occurred that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to someone else
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that lead to bodily harm

Other instances in which the penalty is more severe include:

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

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

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant had a responsibility to keep you safe.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant failed or was negligent in that duty.
  3. Cause in Fact That your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
  4. Proximate Cause That the defendant's breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident.
  5. Damages That the accident led to tangible loss, such as economic damages like medical bills as well as noneconomic damages. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were also monetary losses.

There are two aspects that set drunk driving accidents apart from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that people who get behind the wheel of a vehicle have an obligation to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with pedestrians or other vehicles. Meaning the first element is a given. Secondly, the legal philosophy of negligence per se stipulates that anyone who violates a state statute 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 duty of care and breach of duty. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to prove 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 bottom line. That is why it is imperative to have dedicated and talented Ottawa, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up to bullies and fight until you get the compensation you are owed.

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

It is important to find all liable parties, especially if the driver has policy limits that do not fully compensate you for your damages. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to make a claim against:

A Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Dram shop rules permit you to sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if you were hurt. Illinois' dram shop laws are stipulated 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 at fault. You just have to show:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate through security footage, 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 supplies their private guests with alcohol — if the person who caused your accident was not old enough to drink legally and became intoxicated at the private residence.

Annually, the Illinois Comptroller sets dram shop liability limits on the maximum amount of money someone can be required to pay in a dram shop claim. As of Jan. 20, 2022, the maximum is $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. According to the philosophy of negligent entrustment, it is negligent to 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 claim in Ottawa, 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 you were injured by someone who earns a living as a driver, such as in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may be partially to blame. 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 Ottawa, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct an exhaustive investigation into your claim. Doing so will not only make sure every liable party is held accountable, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

What Damages Are Available for My Ottawa, 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 a low-speed crash in a parking lot, being made whole means recovering compensation for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the pain that comes with rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a relatively short period of time. In the worst cases, for example if you or a loved one becomes paralyzed, no financial recovery can genuinely make you whole, but the amount should be great enough to provide a least some sense of restitution.

You can typically recover three types 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 impartial dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the accident, operations, medications, physical therapy appointments and in-home nursing. You will also be reimbursed for any medical expenses that we expect to arise in the future.
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity — You will be reimbursed for full amount of the wages you lost from not being on the job as you were healing. If your injury resulted in a disability that no longer allows you to perform the tasks required of your job, 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 gas to and from chiropractic appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you need to be compensated for that too.

    If we have to take into consideration future medical costs or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will make sure the settlement or verdict amount 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 hardships you have been put through, which can be anything anything from difficulty bending over to tie your shoes to the emotional impact of not being able to engage in the same activities anymore.
    • Disability if you have permanent physical or cognitive impairments because of the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your partner from the love and intimate relationships you are used to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your family can no longer share the same advice and camaraderie that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury compensation, and are intended to punish the defendant and deter future misbehavior. When we make a claim against drunk drivers, we always seek punitive damages. Not only does that help get you the money you are owed, but it also makes the insurance company nervous 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 may be awarded punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially dangerous behavior. At Burger Law, our experience tells us that anyone who gets behind the wheel while under the influence how much of a potential threat they are to other people on the roads.

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

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Ottawa, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including irresponsible drivers do not respect other people's safety and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more think it is acceptable to withhold the financial recovery you deserve. That is why each of our Ottawa-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has devoted their lives to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We have no interest in 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 constantly honing our abilities to get great recoveries for our clients in Ottawa and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's horrible decisions did. For expert, compassionate and relentless representation, call the Ottawa, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.

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