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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Swansea, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Swansea, IL. If an irresponsible drunk driver harmed you or a family member, call the Swansea, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a complimentary case review. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Swansea and throughout Illinois by defending their rights.

You can follow all the rules of the road, but careless 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 just running errands, your life was unexpectedly capsized through no fault of your own. The Swansea, 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 are piling up, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and everything seems different than it was before your accident. We will fight for you until there is nothing left to fight. With the compassions, knowledge and forceful legal counsel 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 Swansea, IL clients. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until we win your case.

If you were injured by a careless drunk driver, discover how much your injuries may be worth by filling out our free personal injury calculator.

Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois

521 W. Main Street
Suite 201 O
Belleville, IL 62220

Phone: (618) 500-4878

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What Can Swansea, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

Law enforcement will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. But, only a personal injury lawyer can get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Skilled, experienced and persistent drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get maximum compensation 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 Swansea, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

Every injury case is unique, and you can only truly know when to hire a personal injury lawyer by seeking a consultation with one. If the driver is taking responsibility for his actions 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, 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 will probably be prosecuted, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. While a good 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 their criminal case. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to utilize their investigative and litigation skills in order to hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance adjuster does not want to pay for all of your damages. Ideally insurance companies would realize their duty when one of their policyholders injures you in a drunk driving accident, that is not always the case. Even if 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 an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the compensation you deserve.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is clearly at fault, other parties may be at fault, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly lent them the vehicle while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. This is especially vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries will incur future medical expenses. The more significant your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes calculating the full value of 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 ensure you receive the entirety of your damages, but we can connect you to trusted physicians to make sure you get the medical treatment you need.

At Burger Law, there is no risk or obligation when talking to us. Reach out to 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 we can add to your claim.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Understanding just how bad the problem of drinking and driving can be quite sobering. Every day 28 people die in accidents caused by drunk drivers, adding up to roughly one fatality in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have consistently become less common since 1982, drunk drivers still account for almost a third of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While safe driving campaigns and harsh punishments for drunk driving have definitely helped, some reckless Swansea, IL residents still choose to jeopardize others' safety while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. If you are injured as a result, you deserve to be fairly reimbursed with a maximum recovery and the careless driver needs to pay for breaking the rules. The Swansea, 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 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 | Swansea, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While it is only illegal to drink and drive if your blood alcohol concentration is over .008 percent, a level of even .02 percent is sufficient to significantly reduce someone's abilities behind the wheel. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in visual functions, inability to do two things at once, exaggerated confidence and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - the product of about three drinks - someone suffers from reduced coordination, reduced ability to follow movement, challenges using the steering wheel and a slower response to emergency situations. It is crucial to follow proper road safety and have a back up plan if you are not in the best condition to drive. Regrettably, sometimes you can commit to protecting others on the road and still be left to pick up the pieces after the terrible consequences of a thoughtless Swansea, IL driver making a selfish decision, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated and injuring you or someone you love. Just knowing the harsh penalties that come with a DWI conviction does not make you whole again. You need the savvy and tenacious Swansea, 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 discuss your options and start on the path to being made whole again.

Drunk Driving Laws in Swansea and Illinois

According to 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, drunk or drug impaired driving is a Class A Misdemeanor. However, a it 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 resulted in personal injury

Other instances in which the penalty is more severe are:

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Swansea, 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 driver was required to act in a certain, safe way.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant did not do what they should have in order to avoid hurting you.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident caused your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the accident would not have happened but for the driver's failure to act in a way that avoided hurting you.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like damage to your car as well as noneconomic damages. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were associated economic damages.

There are two factors that set drunk driving accidents apart from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 dictates that motorists are required to to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with anyone else on the road. Meaning you do not have to prove the driver owed you a duty of care, as it is already stipulated under the law. Secondly, the legal principle of negligence per se states that anyone who breaks the law is negligent as a matter of law. Therefore, in drunk driving cases the first two elements are taken care of under the condition that you have evidence that the driver was inebriated. 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 imperative to have aggressive and skilled Swansea, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and get the best results in your claim.

Who Else Can I Sue for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Swansea, 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

Many states have what is known 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 laid out 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 demonstrate:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness depositions
  • That the customer they supplied alcohol to was responsible for your injuries
  • That the the patron became inebriated because of the alcohol that was sold to him

You can only sue a social host — meaning someone who supplies their private guests with alcohol — if the drunk driver was not of legal age to drink and became intoxicated at the party.

Each 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, those limits are $77,787.30 for each person making a claim for the accident, or $95,073.37 if the accident caused 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 also owe you compensation. In a negligent entrustment case, a person may be liable if they permit someone else to use a thing which is under the control of the actor if if permitting the activity creates an inherent risk. In a drunk driving accident claim in Swansea, 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 someone who earns a living as a 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. Reasons they are liable could include:

Experienced Swansea, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have experience with all of these types of claims and know how to get results in them. When you hire us, we start investigating your claim immediately to find everyone who is responsible for your injuries.

What Compensation Can I Recover for My Swansea, 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 rear-end accident, that might mean paying money you lost from work while recovering, chiropractic appointments and the pain that is a result of rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a relatively short period of time. In the worst cases, for example if you or a loved one has permanent disability, no financial recovery can genuinely make you whole, but the amount should be great enough to provide a least some sense of peace.

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 an objective dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any urgent care, surgeries, medications, chiropractic appointments and in-home care. 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 receive the full amount of the wages you lost from not being physically able to work. If your injury resulted in a long-term or permanent injury that no longer permits you to earn a living as you once did, 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 send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you need a financial recovery for that too.

    If we have to take into consideration future medical bills or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will ensure 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 emotional trials you have been put through, which can be anything anything from pain when standing up and sitting down to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you have life-long physical or cognitive challenges 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 companionship and intimate relationships you once shared.
    • Loss of society if the injuries impede you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same advice and care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are typically not included in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the defendant and discourage future misbehavior. When we file a lawsuit against drunk drivers, we always seek punitive damages. Not only does that help win you the money you deserve, but it also makes the insurance company nervous as punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies Pursuant 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 appalling conduct. It is clear to us that anyone who drives intoxicated is demonstrating a shameless disregard your safety.

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

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Swansea, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including selfish drivers do not value other people's safety and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more think it is acceptable to withhold the money you deserve. For that reason, each of our Swansea-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has pledged their careers to standing up for the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not working relentlessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly sharpening our negotiation and trial skills to deliver maximum compensation for our clients in Swansea and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's horrible behavior did. For accomplished, compassionate and tenacious representation, call the Swansea, 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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