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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Stockton, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Stockton, IL. If a reckless drunk driver harmed you or someone you love, call the Stockton, 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 Stockton and throughout Illinois by standing up to bullies and getting them the financial recovery they deserve.

You can do everything you are supposed to to keep other drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe, but irresponsible drivers can still put you in harm's way and unfairly injure you. Whether you were coming back to town after a long weekend or lazily driving around on a Saturday, all of a sudden your entire life was capsized when you did nothing wrong. The Stockton, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have dedicated their lives to helping people in similar circumstances get a sense of healing and full compensation when they may be feeling they have nowhere to turn. We know the medical bills keep coming in, you are losing time off work and your life is not the same as it just a short while ago. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the dedication, skill and unshakable legal advocacy of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of litigating and trying cases, we have gotten more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Stockton, IL clients. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you get the great compensation you deserve.

If you were harmed by an irresponsible drunk driver, find out how much your damages 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 Stockton, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely seek a guilty verdict in criminal court. Still, only a personal injury lawyer can get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Talented, experienced and aggressive drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get justice by:

At Burger Law, we have over 30 years of experience handling all types of auto accident claims and getting full compensation for our clients.

Do I Need Stockton, 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 the driver is taking responsibility for his actions and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, you may very well be able to get a fair settlement offer from the insurance company. 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 cause accidents will probably be prosecuted, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company 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 the law in order to hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance company is not being fair. While you would like to think insurance companies would realize their commitment when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, far too often that does not happen. 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 they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. Those are all lies, and a knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyer will fight back and let the insurance adjuster know we mean business.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is obviously to blame, other parties may bear partial responsibility, such as the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will conduct a comprehensive investigation and identify anyone who bears responsibility for the accident. This is especially beneficial when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries require ongoing care. The more grave your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing your damages more difficult, and motivates the insurance company to try to minimize your injuries as much as possible. Aggressive and compassionate drunk driving accident lawyers will not only be able to calculate and demand full compensation, 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. Reach out to us now at (314) 500-HURT to talk for a candid conversation with 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.?

Drunk driving statistics can be quite sobering. Every day 28 people die in accidents caused by drunk drivers, adding up to roughly one death every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have consistently been on the decline in the last 40 years, drunk drivers are still responsible for 29 percent of all auto related deaths. While organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving and strict punishments for drunk driving have definitely done a lot to make our communities safer, some careless Stockton, IL residents still decide to jeopardize others' safety while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. If you are harmed as a result, you deserve to be justly compensated with a full recovery and the careless driver needs to pay for what they did. The Stockton, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts found that almost 20 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.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Stockton, 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 substantially impair someone's driving skills. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks simultaneously, a change in mood and poor judgment. At .05 percent - reached after roughly three alcohol beverages - a motorist suffers from lowered coordination, inability to follow movement, difficulty steering and not being able to respond in enough time to unexpected things on the road. It is imperative to exercise great caution and have a back up plan if you are intoxicated. Unfortunately, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still be left to pick up the pieces after the horrible and unfair consequences of a reckless Stockton, IL driver making a selfish decision, driving while intoxicated and harming you or someone you care about. Just knowing the harsh penalties that come with a DWI conviction cannot truly compensate you and your family for all of the ways they have impacted your life. You need the knowledgeable and talented Stockton, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to see things made right. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to discuss your options and start on the path to being made whole again.

Drunk Driving Laws in Stockton 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:

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

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 Stockton, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant was required to act in a certain, safe way.
  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 the accident led to tangible loss, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as noneconomic damages. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were associated economic damages.

There are two aspects that set drunk driving accidents apart from most other personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that motorists have an obligation to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. Meaning a driver automatically owed you a duty of care. Secondly, the legal theory of negligence per se stipulates that anyone who violates a state statute 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 show at that point is that the accident caused your injuries and that you incurred losses as a result.

None of that means you should take the success of your case for granted; the truth is that many drunk drivers try to avoid taking responsibility and their insurance company will do what they can to help them. That is why it is critical to have passionate and experienced Stockton, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up for you and get the best results in your claim.

Who Else Can I Sue for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Stockton, 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 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 more liberal than many other states' in that the drunk driver did not have to show significant impairment 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 show through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the patron they sold 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 driver liable for your injuries was not of legal age to drink and became inebriated at the party.

Every year the Illinois Comptroller stipulates 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 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 the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the vehicle, the owner may be responsible for some of your damages. In a negligent entrustment claim, a person may be liable 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 case in Stockton, 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 had had to much too drink.

The Driver's Employer

If your accident was caused by a commercial driver, such as 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 Stockton, 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 responsible, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

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

Tort claims in the United States are based on the principle of making one whole. The concept is that when a person or organization is to blame for your injuries, 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, chiropractic appointments and the pain that is a result of rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a little while. In the most destructive cases, for example if you or a loved one has permanent disability, no amount of money can genuinely compensate you, but the financial recovery 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 accident. It is an objective dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any urgent care, surgeries, medications, chiropractic appointments and assistive devices such as crutches. You will also be paid 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 able to work while you recovered. 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 Uber to and from physical therapy appointments, or had to invest in childcare while you were recovering, you need to be repaid 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 burdens you have been put through, which can be anything anything from difficulty carrying groceries in to the emotional impact of not being able to pick up your kids anymore.
    • Disability if you sustained permanent physical or cognitive impairments because of the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident result in permanent scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your significant other from the love and intimate relationships you once shared.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your family can no longer share the same advice and care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and deter future misbehavior. When we file a lawsuit against drunk drivers, we always seek punitive damages. Not only does that help get you the money you are owed, but it also helps secure a fair settlement from the insurance company because punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies Under 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers may be awarded punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially appalling conduct. At Burger Law, we have learned that anyone who gets behind the wheel while drunk is very aware of the danger their actions pose.

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

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Stockton, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including irresponsible drivers who do not want to take responsibility for their actions and resistant insurance companies who care more about their profits than doing the right thing. For that reason, each of our Stockton-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has devoted their careers to defending the rights of the injured and vulnerable. We have no interest in TV 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 sharpening our lawyer skills to deliver the best results for our clients in Stockton and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's horrible actions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Stockton, 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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