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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Wataga, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Wataga, IL. If a selfish drunk driver injured you or someone you love, call the Wataga, 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 Wataga 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 drunk drivers can still cause unimaginable destruction. Whether you were driving home from dinner or just running errands, your life was unexpectedly turned upside down through no fault of your own. The Wataga, 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 everything seems different than it was in the not-too-distance past. We will be by your side until things are made right again. With the dedication, skill and aggressive legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our more than 30 years of experience, we have secured more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Wataga and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you get the best possible compensation you deserve.

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

A prosecutor will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. But, only a personal injury lawyer can get you full compensation for your injuries. Talented, accomplished and aggressive drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get maximum compensation 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 Wataga, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

Every accident 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 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 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 go in front of a judge in criminal court, and may not want to admit fault 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 obtain key evidence in order to prove that the defendant were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance adjuster is not being fair. In a perfect world insurance companies would fulfill their responsibility when one of their policyholders injures you in a drunk driving accident, that is not always the case. Even in the event that the driver does take responsibility, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries are pre-existing or you only have a limited amount of time to accept their low offer. Those are all lies, and an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the money you deserve.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is obviously at fault, other parties may be at fault, such as a bar that overserved the driver. Drunk driving accident lawyers will perform a comprehensive investigation and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. Finding other liable parties is crucial 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 serious your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more difficult, and will cause the insurance company to fight back against giving you a fair settlement. Skilled and compassionate drunk driving accident lawyers will not only ensure you receive the entirety of your damages, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

At Burger Law, there is no risk or obligation when talking to us. Call us now at (314) 500-HURT to talk for a candid conversation with a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar with Illinois laws who will be straightforward with you about whether it is worth it or not for you to hire an attorney for your claim.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Drunk driving statistics can be quite sobering. Every day 28 people are killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers, which is approximately one death in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have steadily been on the decline in the last 40 years, drunk drivers still account for 29 percent of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While safe driving campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly done a lot to make our roads safer, some reckless Wataga, IL residents still decide to jeopardize others' safety just so they party and avoid paying for a taxi. If you are hurt as a result, you deserve to be fairly reimbursed with a complete recovery and the careless driver needs to be held accountable for breaking the rules. The Wataga, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will use or skills and dedication to see wrongs made right.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts states that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of almost 40 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Wataga, 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 even .02 percent is sufficient to considerably reduce someone's driving skills. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks simultaneously, an altered mood and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - the product of roughly three drinks - a driver experiences decreased coordination, inability to trace movement, difficulty maneuvering and not being able to respond in enough time to unexpected things on the road. It is crucial to do you part in protecting other drivers, passengers and pedestrians and let someone else take the wheel if you are not in the best condition to drive. Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still be left reeling from the horrible and unfair consequences of a reckless Wataga, IL driver making a selfish decision, driving drunk and harming you or a family member. Just knowing the harsh penalties that come with a DWI conviction does not make you whole again. You need the experienced and skilled Wataga, 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 start on the road to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Wataga 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 driving under the influence becomes "aggravated driving under the influence" and a Class 4 Felony if:

  • It is a third or subsequent violation
  • An accident occurred 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 personal injury

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 Wataga, IL?

Typically, 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 needed to use reasonable care to avoid injuring you.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant did not act in a way that kept you safe.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident resulted in your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the driver's failure to act in a way that avoided hurting you is the reason for the accident.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as economic damages like damage to your car as well as emotional distress. 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 claims different from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 specifically states that people who get behind the wheel of a vehicle are to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with pedestrians or other vehicles. Meaning the first element is a given. Secondly, the legal philosophy of negligence per se means that anyone who violates a state statute 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 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 imperative to have committed and skilled Wataga, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up for you and get the best results in your claim.

Is Anybody Else Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Wataga, IL?

The driver is clearly to blame for their irresponsible decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers well-versed in Illinois law will be able to conduct a full investigation and determine if anyone else is at fault:

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 were hurt. Illinois' dram shop laws are laid out 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 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 prove:

  • That the establishment sold the driver alcohol, which you can demonstrate with surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness depositions
  • That the patron they sold to was responsible for the drunk driving accident
  • 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 holds a private party — if the person who caused your accident was not old enough to drink legally and became drunk at the private residence.

Annually, the Illinois Comptroller sets dram shop liability limits on how much compensation you can receive in a dram shop case. As of Jan. 20, 2022, the maximum is $77,787.30 for each person incurring damages, 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 the driver was driving someone else's car, you may be able to file a suit against the owner. According to the doctrine of negligent entrustment, someone may owe you damages if they permit someone else 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 claim in Wataga, 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, you may be able to make a claim against the company that hired and directed the driver. Reasons they are liable could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Wataga, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct an exhaustive investigation into your accident. 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 Wataga, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Personal injury claims in the United States are based on the doctrine of being made whole. "Being made whole" means that when another party injures you, you should be paid a dollar amount commensurate to the extent of your damages. In many car accident claims, for example a a low-speed crash in a parking lot, that might mean paying for lost wages, physical therapy appointments and the physical strain that comes with rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a little while. In the worst cases, for example if you lose a loved one, no financial recovery can be expected to compensate you, but the settlement or verdict should be great enough to provide a least some sense of peace.

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

  1. Economic damages — This refers to the total sum of the money you either lost out on or had to spend because of your injuries. It is a non-arguable dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any urgent care, operations, prescription or over-the-counter meds, chiropractic appointments and in-home nursing. 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 able to work while you recovered. If your injury caused a long-term or permanent injury that no longer permits 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 gas to and from chiropractic appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, 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 recovery 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 carrying groceries in to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability for any life-long physical or cognitive impairments the irresponsible driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your spouse from the affection and intimate relationships you grew accustomed to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your loved ones can no longer share the same counsel and camaraderie that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury claims, and are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from making the same mistakes. Punitive damages can — and should — be sought when making a civil claim against a drunk driver. Not only does that increase your compensation, but it also helps secure a fair settlement from the insurance company as there is no coverage for punitive damages Pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can seek punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially appalling behavior. It is clear to us that anyone who gets behind the wheel while under the influence is demonstrating a blatant lack of respect for your safety.

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

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Wataga, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including reckless drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies focus more on money than morals. For that reason, each of our Wataga-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their lives to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not investigating and litigating cases, our drunk driving accident lawyers are consistently sharpening our abilities to secure great recoveries for our clients in Wataga and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's irresponsible decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Wataga, 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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