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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers St. Charles, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in St. Charles, 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 St. Charles, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a complimentary consultation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in St. Charles and throughout Illinois by securing them the maximum compensation they are owed.

You can do everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones, but thoughtless drivers can still put you in harm's way and unfairly injure you. Whether you were on your way to a sports game or just running errands, all of a sudden your entire life was upended when you did nothing wrong. The St. Charles, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have devoted their careers to helping people in similar circumstances get justice and maximum compensation when they may be feeling like there was no way out. We know the medical bills keep coming in, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and everything seems different than it was just a short while ago. We will be by your side until things are made right again. With the dedication, expertise and forceful legal counsel of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of defending the rights of the injured, we have recovered over $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our St. Charles, IL clients. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you get the great financial recovery you deserve.

If you were harmed by a selfish drunk driver, see how much your damages 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 St. Charles, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

A prosecutor will likely do everything they can to convict a drunk driver criminally. Still, a personal injury lawyer is still necessary to get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Knowledgeable, veteran 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 St. Charles, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

Every auto wreck is different, and you can only truly know when to hire a personal injury lawyer by seeking a consultation with one. If the driver accepts culpability 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 will be able to significantly add value to your claim:

  • The drunk driver will not take responsibility for their actions. Drunk drivers who injure people will probably be prosecuted, and may not want to admit liability in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. 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 prove that the defendant were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance company refuses to offer a full settlement. While you would like to think insurance companies would realize their duty when one of their policyholders decides to make a irresponsible decision that ends up injuring you, that is not always the case. Even in the event that the driver admits liability, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries were not actually caused by the accident or that a lawyer will only take money from you. Those are all deceptions aimed at devaluing your claim, and a talented drunk driving accident lawyer will fight back and let the insurance adjuster know we mean business.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is clearly to blame, other entities 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 perform a thorough investigation and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. This is especially important when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries need extensive medical treatment. The more serious your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more complex, and motivates the insurance company to try to minimize your damages as much as possible. Persistent and compassionate 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. Contact us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak for a candid conversation with 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

Seeing how many people choose to drink and drive can be quite sobering. Every day 28 people die in accidents caused by drunk drivers, or about one fatality in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have consistently become less common in the last four decades, drunk drivers are still responsible for almost a third of all auto related deaths. While awareness campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly helped, some reckless St. Charles, IL individuals still choose to disregard others' well-being 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 the harm they have caused. The St. Charles, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts reported that almost one-fifth of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of almost 40 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | St. Charles, 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 considerably impair someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks simultaneously, an altered mood and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - the product of roughly three alcohol beverages - someone suffers from decreased coordination, inability to trace moving objects, difficulty maneuvering and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is vital to do you part in protecting other drivers, passengers and pedestrians and find other ways of transport if you have had too much to drink. Unfortunately, sometimes you can commit to protecting others on the road and still experience the devastating consequences of a dangerous St. Charles, IL motorist disregarding your safety, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated and injuring you or a family member. 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. Trust in the experienced and tenacious St. Charles, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to get you the full financial recovery you deserve. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to discuss your options and begin on the road to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in St. Charles 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 DUI 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 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 St. Charles, IL?

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

  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 accident would not have happened but for the defendant's failure to act in a way that avoided hurting you.
  5. Damages That the negligence was the reason you sustained a loss, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as noneconomic damages. It is important to note that in personal injury claims you cannot make a claim for for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

There are two aspects that set drunk driving accidents apart from most other personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 stipulates that drivers have an obligation to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with anyone else on the road. Meaning the first element is a given. Secondly, the legal philosophy of negligence per se means that anyone who violates a state statute is negligent as a matter of law. 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 demonstrate 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; the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is key to have dedicated and accomplished St. Charles, IL drunk driving accident lawyers by your side to fight until you get the compensation you deserve.

Are Any Third Parties Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in St. Charles, 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 laws permit you to sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if the accident caused you injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are explained in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law is different from 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 someone underage. You just have to demonstrate:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can show through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness or employee testimony
  • That the customer they served 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 driver at fault for your injuries was not old enough to drink legally and became drunk at the party.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller sets dram shop liability limits on how much a bar, restaurant or social host is required to pay out. As of Jan. 20, 2022, those limits are $77,787.30 for each injured party, or $95,073.37 if the accident caused loss of support or loss of society due to the wrongful death of a loved one.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the vehicle, you may be able to file a suit against the owner. In a negligent entrustment case, a person may be liable if they permit a third person to use something which is under the control of the actor if if permitting the activity creates an inherent risk. In a drunk driving accident suit in St. Charles, 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 someone who works 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. 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 St. Charles, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your claim. 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 St. Charles, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Personal injury claims in the United States are based on the theory of making one whole. "Being made whole" means that when another party injures you, 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, that might mean paying for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the pain and inconvenience involved with rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a little while. In the most tragic cases, for example if you lose a family member, no financial recovery can truly compensate you, but the settlement or verdict should be high enough to encapsulate the terrible loss you have sustained.

You can typically recover three types of damages in a personal injury claim:

  1. Economic damages — This the totaling of all the bills and lost income related to your accident. It is an objective dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any urgent care, operations, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical therapy appointments and in-home nursing. You will also receive compensation for any medical bills that will arise 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 disability that no longer allows you to perform the tasks required of your job, 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 invest in childcare while you were recovering, you deserve to be compensated for that too.

    If your injuries result in 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 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 include anything from difficulty going up and down the stairs to the emotional impact of not being able to pick up your kids anymore.
    • Disability if you sustained life-long physical or cognitive impairments after the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused lasting scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your significant other from the affection and intimate relationships you once had.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your loved ones can no longer share the same counsel and care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and discourage others from making the same mistakes. We are aggressive in our pursuit of punitive damages in drunk driving accident claims. Not only does that maximize your compensation, but it also makes the insurance company nervous because punitive damages are not covered under insurance 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 reckless behavior. At Burger Law, our experience tells us that anyone who drives under the influence is very aware of the danger their actions pose.

In addition, we have extensive experience winning the following cases for our St. Charles, IL clients:

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St. Charles, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including irresponsible drivers who do not want to take responsibility for their actions and resistant insurance companies focus more on money than morals. That is why each of our St. Charles-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has pledged their careers to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV or billboards. When we are not working tirelessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly sharpening our lawyer skills to get maximum compensation for our clients in St. Charles and throughout Illinois. We know you deserve it because we know you did nothing to put yourself in this situation; someone else's dangerous decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the St. Charles, 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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