Securing justice after someone else's terrible decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Washington, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Washington, 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 Washington, 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 Washington and throughout Illinois by defending their rights.

You can follow all the rules of the road, but drunk drivers can still cause unfathomable damage. Whether you were driving home from dinner or just running errands, your life was immediately completely disrupted when you did nothing wrong. The Washington, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have dedicated their careers to helping people like you get justice and great compensation when they may be feeling they have nowhere to turn. We know the medical bills are accumulating, you are losing time off work and your life is not the same as it just a short while ago. We will fight for you until there is nothing left to fight. With the compassions, skill and forceful legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of experience, we have recovered more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Washington, IL clients. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and you do not owe us a thing until we win your case.

If you were harmed by a thoughtless drunk driver, find out how much your damages may be worth by filling out 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 Washington, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

The criminal justice system will likely do everything they can to convict a drunk driver criminally. However, you will still need a personal injury lawyer to stand up to the drunk driver in civil court and get you full compensation for your injuries. Knowledgeable, 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 Washington, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

That depends on the particulars 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 there is no dispute about who is at fault 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 other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who cause accidents are likely looking at criminal charges as well, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company in order to not be sentenced in criminal court. While drunk driving charges can sometimes be dropped or reduced, 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 get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance company does not want to pay for all of your damages. While you would like to think insurance companies would fulfill their commitment 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 does take responsibility, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries are pre-existing or that they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. Those are all lies, and an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer will not let them get away with them.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is obviously liable, other entities may bear partial responsibility, 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 all liable parties. Finding other liable parties is crucial when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries need extensive medical treatment. The more significant your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing your damages more challenging, and motivates the insurance adjuster to try to minimize your damages as much as possible. Persistent and compassionate 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. Call us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak for a candid conversation with a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar with Illinois laws who will be direct with you about whether it is worth it or not for you to hire an attorney for your claim.

How Common is Drunk Driving in Washington, IL and the U.S.?

Drunk driving statistics can be pretty sobering. Every day 28 people die in accidents caused by drunk drivers, which is approximately one death every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have steadily declined in the last 40 years, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have definitely done wonders for reducing drunk driving, some careless Washington, IL individuals still choose to jeopardize others' safety just so they can have a good time and skip on paying for an Uber. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you deserve to be fairly compensated with a full recovery and the negligent driver needs to be held accountable for what they did. The Washington, 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 fatal crashes in the state involved a drunk driver. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, over a third tested positive.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Washington, 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 greatly impede 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, a change in mood and poor judgment. At .05 percent - the product of about three drinks - someone experiences decreased coordination, inability to trace moving objects, difficulty steering and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is vital to exercise great caution and let someone else take the wheel if you have had too much to drink. Regrettably, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still experience the catastrophic consequences of a thoughtless Washington, IL driver not caring about the rules, getting behind the wheel drunk and injuring 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. Trust in the savvy and talented Washington, 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 go over your case and begin on the road to feeling that true justice was done.

Drunk Driving Laws in Washington 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 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 someone else
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that resulted in bodily harm

Third and fourth violations are Class 2 Felonies, a fifth violation is a Class 1 Felony, and sixth and subsequent violations are Class X Felonies.

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Washington, 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 had a responsibility to keep you safe.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant did not use reasonable care.
  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 breach of duty.
  5. Damages That the negligence was the reason you sustained a loss, such as monetary damages like lost wages as well as noneconomic damages. It is important to mention that in personal injury claims you cannot secure a financial recovery for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained economic damages.

There are two aspects that make drunk driving accident cases different from most other personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that drivers are to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with pedestrians or other vehicles. 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 theory of negligence per se states that anyone who breaks the law 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 the first two elements. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to demonstrate is that the driver caused the accident and your injuries.

Negligence per se does not mean you will automatically receive the financial recovery you deserve; 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 key to have dedicated and experienced Washington, 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 Washington, IL?

A driver is not the only one who may be held responsible in your claim. Other third parties include:

A Licensed Alcohol Vendor 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 sustained damages. Illinois' dram shop laws are stipulated in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law easier to apply than 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 demonstrate:

  • That the establishment sold the driver alcohol, which you can show with surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness or employee depositions
  • That the customer they supplied alcohol to caused 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 under the age of 21 and became inebriated at the private residence.

Annually, 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 injured party, or $95,073.37 if the accident caused loss of support or loss of society because of the wrongful death of a loved one.

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, someone may owe you damages 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 case in Washington, 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 your accident was caused by someone who works as a driver, for example in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may have some liability. Negligence that could result in liability could include:

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

What Damages Are Available for My Washington, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Civil claims in the United States are based on the theory of being made whole. The concept is that when a person or organization is to blame for your damages, 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 for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the pain and inconvenience that is a result of rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a few months. In the most tragic cases, for example if you lose a loved one, no amount of money can truly 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 accident. It is an impartial dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any emergency room visits, surgeries, prescription or over-the-counter meds, chiropractic appointments and assistive devices such as vehicle improvements. You will also be paid for any medical expenses that we expect to 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 caused a long-term or permanent injury 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 transportation to and from physical therapy 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 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 pain you have been put through, which can be anything anything from difficulty turning your head to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you sustained life-long physical or cognitive challenges due to the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident result in lasting scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your spouse from the love and intimate relationships you once had.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your loved ones can no longer share the same guidance and camaraderie that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the defendant and deter future misbehavior. Punitive damages can — and should — be sought when making a civil claim against a drunk driver. 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 there is no coverage for punitive damages 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 dangerous behavior. It is clear to us that anyone who gets behind the wheel while under the influence is demonstrating a brazen lack of respect for your safety.

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

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Washington, 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 compensation you are owed. For that reason, each of our Washington-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has pledged their education and abilities to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on 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 regularly honing our lawyer skills to secure maximum compensation for our clients in Washington and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's irresponsible behavior did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Washington, 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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