Securing justice after a drunk driver's terrible decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Park Forest, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Park Forest, 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 Park Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a complimentary case evaluation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Park Forest and throughout Illinois by defending their rights.

You can follow all the rules of the road, but thoughtless drivers can still put you in harm's way and unfairly injure you. Whether you were driving home from dinner or just running errands, all of a sudden your entire life was turned upside down through no fault of your own. The Park Forest, 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 keep coming in, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and your life is not the same as it before your accident. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the commitment, expertise and aggressive legal counsel 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 secured over $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Park Forest and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Our initial consultation and investigation is free, and we do not charge any fees until you receive the settlement check you deserve.

If you were injured by a reckless drunk driver, discover how much your claim may be worth by utilizing 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 Park Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

Law enforcement will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. Still, only a personal injury lawyer can get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Talented, experienced and relentless drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get the best possible financial recovery by:

At Burger Law, we know auto accident claims and how to stand up to bullies.

Do I Need Park 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 accident. If there is no dispute about who is at fault and your injuries are minor and only require a quick trip to the emergency room, it may not be worth it to hire an attorney. However, many other circumstances require legal representation for the best results:

  • 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 be motivated not to cooperate in order to not face fines, a suspended license and possibly jail time. While while not every drunk driver is found guilty, you can still sue a drunk driver if they were found not guilty in their criminal case. 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 is not being fair. In a perfect world insurance companies would fulfill their commitment 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 if the driver does take responsibility, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries were not actually caused by the accident or you waited too long to seek medical treatment. None of that is true, and a knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the financial recovery you are owed.
  • 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 the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify anyone who bears responsibility for the accident. Finding other liable parties is vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries will require medical care in the future. The more serious your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes putting a dollar amount on your damages more complex, 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 ensure you receive the entirety of your damages, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

At Burger Law, there is no risk or obligation when talking to us. 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 you need an attorney to get the best results in your case.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Drunk driving statistics can be pretty sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, which is approximately one fatality in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have consistently declined in the last four decades, drunk drivers are still responsible for almost a third of all auto related fatalities. While organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and strict punishments for drunk driving have certainly done wonders for reducing drunk driving, some careless Park Forest, IL individuals still decide to disregard others' well-being while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you are owed a full financial recovery and the reckless driver needs to pay for the harm they have caused. The Park Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts reported that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved a drunk driver. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, over a third tested positive.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Park Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, a level of just .02 percent is sufficient to considerably impede someone's driving skills. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks at the same time, exaggerated confidence and poor judgment. At .05 percent - reached after roughly three drinks - someone suffers from lowered coordination, inability to track moving objects, challenges maneuvering and a slower response to emergency situations. It is vital to exercise great caution and find other means of transport if you are intoxicated. Regrettably, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still be left reeling from the catastrophic consequences of a thoughtless Park Forest, IL motorist not caring about the rules, driving drunk and harming you or a loved one. Just knowing that the person who hurt you will face harsh consequences in a criminal case cannot truly compensate you and your family for all of the ways they have impacted your life. Trust in the experienced and skilled Park Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to see things made right. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to go over your case and start on the road to healing.

Drunk Driving Laws in Park Forest and Illinois

Under 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 DUI 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 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 Park Forest, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant needed to use reasonable care to avoid injuring you.
  2. Breach of Duty That the driver did not use reasonable care.
  3. Cause in Fact That your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
  4. Proximate Cause That the defendant's failure to use reasonable care is the reason for the accident.
  5. Damages That the negligence was the reason you sustained a 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 also economic damages.

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 drivers are required to 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 means that anyone who violates a state statute 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 duty of care and breach of duty. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to show 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 receive 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 dedicated and talented Park Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyers by your side to fight until you get the financial recovery you deserve.

Are Any Third Parties Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Park Forest, IL?

The driver is clearly liable for their selfish decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers experienced 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

Many states have what is referred to as a dram shop rule, under which you may be able sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if you were harmed. Illinois' dram shop laws are stipulated in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law is different from 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 show:

  • That the vendor sold the driver alcohol, which you can show through recordings, receipts or eyewitness depositions
  • That the patron they sold to was responsible for your injuries
  • 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 drunk driver was not of legal age to drink and became drunk at the party.

Each year 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 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 you were injured by a vehicle that was not being driven by the owner, the owner may be liable for percentage of your damages. According to the doctrine of negligent entrustment, it is negligent to permit someone else 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 case in Park Forest, 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 too drunk to drive.

The Driver's Employer

If you were injured by someone who works as a driver, such as in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may be partially to blame. Reasons they are liable could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Park Forest, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct an exhaustive investigation into your accident. Doing so will not only make sure every negligent party is held responsible, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

What Compensation Can I Recover for My Park Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Civil claims in the United States are based on the theory of making one whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone is at-fault for your damages, 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, being made whole means recovering compensation for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the pain that is a result of rehabilitating from a neck injury for a little while. In the worst cases, for example if you lose a family member, no amount of money can genuinely make you whole, but the amount should be high enough to encapsulate the terrible loss you have sustained.

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 a firm dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the accident, operations, medications, chiropractic appointments and in-home nursing. You will also be paid for any treatment, joint replacements or replacement assistive devices you may need in the future.
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity — You will be reimbursed for full amount of the wages you lost from not being able to work while you recovered. If your injury resulted in a long-term or permanent injury that no longer allows 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 Uber to and from medical appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you deserve a financial recovery for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical costs or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will make sure the compensation 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 effects on your well-being, which can be anything anything from pain when standing up and sitting down to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive difficulties the drunk driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries caused lasting scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your significant other from the companionship and intimate relationships you once had.
    • 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 not common in personal injury recoveries, and are meant 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 help secure you the money you are owed, but it also helps secure a fair settlement from the insurance company as punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies According to 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 egregious behavior. At Burger Law, we have learned that anyone who drives intoxicated how much of a potential threat they are to other people on the roads.

In addition, we have extensive experience winning the following cases for our Park Forest, IL clients:

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Park Forest, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including irresponsible drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more their profits than doing the right thing. That is why each of our Park Forest-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their careers to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not investigating and litigating cases, our drunk driving accident lawyers are constantly fine-tuning our lawyer skills to secure the best results for our clients in Park 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 knowledgeable, passionate and relentless representation, call the Park Forest, 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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