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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Stephenson County, IL

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

You can follow all the rules of the road, but reckless drivers can still change your life in a heartbeat. Whether you were driving home from dinner or just running errands, all of a sudden your entire life was upended through no fault of your own. The Stephenson County, 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 you cannot earn a living right now and it is hard to get the same enjoyment out of life that you did in the not-too-distance past. We will be by your side until things are made right again. With the compassions, expertise and forceful legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of litigating and trying cases, we have recovered more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Stephenson County, IL clients. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you receive the settlement check you deserve.

If you were injured by a reckless drunk driver, find out how much your claim 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 Stephenson County, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

A prosecutor will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. However, only a personal injury lawyer can get you full compensation for your injuries. Skilled, accomplished and aggressive drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get justice by:

  • Investigating your claim fully, including acquiring police reports, eyewitness testimony and medical records
  • Ensuring you get the full medical treatment you need to recover
  • Consulting with economic and medical experts to know exactly how much your claim is worth
  • Combating the lies insurance companies use to avoid compensating you
  • Proving negligence on the part of the inebriated driver
  • Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company
  • Filing a lawsuit when the insurance company is not offering the maximum compensation you deserve
  • Taking your case in front of a judge and jury if the insurance adjuster will not be fair in mediation
  • Standing by your side until you get every penny you deserve

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 Stephenson County, 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 determine when to hire a personal injury lawyer. If the driver accepts culpability and your injuries are minor and only require an appointment with your primary care physician, 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 injuries are likely looking at criminal charges as well, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. 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 in criminal court. 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 adjuster 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 reckless 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 say that your injuries are pre-existing or that a lawyer will only take money from you. Those are all deceptions aimed at minimizing your claim, and an accomplished drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the money you deserve.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is clearly to blame, other parties may bear partial responsibility, such as the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will carry out a comprehensive investigation and identify all liable parties. Finding other liable parties is crucial when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries will incur future medical expenses. The more severe your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing your damages more complex, and will cause the insurance company to fight back against giving you a fair settlement. Tenacious and compassionate drunk driving accident lawyers will not only ensure you receive the entirety of your damages, but we will ensure you receive all of the medical you need to recover.

At Burger Law, our consultations and initial investigations are free. Reach out to us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak directly to a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar with Illinois laws who will be honest with you about whether the insurance company is offering a fair settlement.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Drunk driving statistics can be quite sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, adding up to roughly one death every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have consistently become less common in the last four decades, drunk drivers are still responsible for 29 percent of all auto related fatalities. While organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and stiff punishments for drunk driving have definitely done wonders for reducing drunk driving, some selfish Stephenson County, IL residents still choose to jeopardize others' safety because of a misplaced self-centeredness. If you are hurt as a result, you deserve to be justly compensated with a maximum recovery and the reckless driver needs to pay for the harm they have caused. The Stephenson County, 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 20 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved a drunk driver. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, almost 40 percent tested positive.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Stephenson County, 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 only .02 percent is sufficient to substantially reduce someone's abilities behind the wheel. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in sight, inability to multi-task, a change in mood and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - reached after about three drinks - a person suffers from decreased coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering and not being able to respond in enough time to emergency situations. It is imperative to do you part in protecting other drivers, passengers and pedestrians and always have someone else drive if you have been drinking. Unfortunately, sometimes you can commit to protecting others on the road and still be left reeling from the horrible and unfair consequences of a reckless Stephenson County, IL driver making a selfish decision, getting behind the wheel drunk and injuring you or a loved one. Just knowing that the person who hurt you will face harsh repercussions in a criminal case is not enough. You need the experienced and aggressive Stephenson County, 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 begin on the road to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Stephenson County 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:

  • It is a third or subsequent violation
  • An accident occurred that lead to great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that resulted in bodily harm

Other instances in which the penalty is more severe are:

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

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

  1. Duty of Care That the driver was required to act in a certain, safe way.
  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 accident would not have happened but for the defendant's failure to act in a way that avoided hurting you.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as mental anguish. It is important to note that in personal injury claims you cannot receive compensation for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

There are two factors that make drunk driving accident lawsuits different from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that motorists are legally compelled to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. Meaning the first element is a given. Secondly, the legal doctrine of negligence per se means that anyone who breaks the law is automatically considered to have breached their duty of care. Therefore, in drunk driving cases the first two elements are granted automatically under the condition that you have evidence that the driver was driving drunk. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to prove is that the driver caused the accident and that that is how you sustained 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 key to have tenacious and experienced Stephenson County, IL drunk driving accident lawyers by your side to get the best results in your claim.

Are Any Third Parties Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Stephenson County, IL?

The driver is clearly liable for their horrible 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 Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Dram shop laws permit you to sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if you sustained injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are laid out 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 at fault. You just have to prove:

  • That the establishment sold the driver alcohol, which you can show through recordings, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the customer they sold to caused the drunk driving accident
  • That the the patron got drunk because of the alcohol that was sold to him

You can only sue a social host — meaning someone who furnishes liquor to a guest in a private residence — if the driver responsible for your injuries was under the age of 21 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, those limits are $77,787.30 for each injured party, or $95,073.37 if the accident resulted in 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 claim, someone may owe you damages if they permit a third person 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 claim in Stephenson County, 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 had had to much too drink.

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. 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 Stephenson County, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your accident. 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 Damages Are Available for My Stephenson County, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

The civil court system in the United States is based on the principle of being made whole. The concept is that when a person or organization is to blame 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 simple fender-bender, that might mean paying for lost wages, follow-up doctors' appointments and the pain and inconvenience that is a result of rehabilitating from a neck injury for a little while. In the most tragic cases, for example if you or a loved one loses a limb, no financial recovery can be expected to compensate you, but the settlement or verdict should be high enough to encapsulate the terrible loss you have sustained.

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 a firm dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the injury, surgeries, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical therapy appointments and assistive devices such as wheelchairs. 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 be reimbursed for full amount of the wages you lost from not being on the job as you were healing. If your injury caused a disability 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 gas to and from medical appointments, or had to invest in childcare while you were recovering, you deserve to be compensated for that too.

    In the case of future medical expenses or lost earning capacity, 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 effects on your well-being, which can be anything anything from pain when carrying groceries in to the emotional impact of not being able to engage in the same activities anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive challenges the reckless driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries caused permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your partner from the love and intimate relationships you once had.
    • Loss of society if the injuries impede you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same advice and camaraderie they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury compensation, and are intended to punish the defendant and deter others from making the same mistakes. When we make a claim against drunk drivers, we always pursue punitive damages. Not only does that help win you the money you deserve, but it also puts the insurance company on their heels because their policyholders do not pay for punitive damages in their policies Pursuant 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 dangerous behavior. It is clear to us that anyone who drives drunk is demonstrating a shameless lack of respect for your safety.

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

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Stephenson County, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including reckless drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies focus more on think it is acceptable to withhold the money you are owed. For that reason, each of our Stephenson County-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has devoted their careers to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We have no interest in TV commercials or billboards. When we are not working relentlessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly fine-tuning our negotiation and trial skills to deliver great recoveries for our clients in Stephenson County and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's selfish behavior did. For accomplished, compassionate and tenacious representation, call the Stephenson County, 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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