Making you whole again after someone else's reckless decision left you to pick up the pieces

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Waterloo, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Waterloo, 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 Waterloo, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a no-risk, no-obligation case evaluation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Waterloo 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 drunk drivers can still change your life without warning. Whether you were driving home from dinner or just running errands, your life was immediately capsized through no fault of your own. The Waterloo, 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 keep coming in, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and your life is not the same as it in the recent past. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the dedication, knowledge and tenacious legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of experience, we have secured more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Waterloo, IL clients. Talking to us is free, and we do not charge any fees until you get the great financial recovery you deserve.

If you were harmed by a thoughtless drunk driver, discover how much your claim may be worth by using our free personal injury calculator.

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

The criminal justice system will likely seek a guilty verdict in criminal court. But, a personal injury lawyer is still necessary to get you a financial recovery for all of your damages. Talented, veteran and tenacious 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 Waterloo, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

That depends on the particulars of your case, and if you have never had to hire an attorney 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 a quick trip to the emergency room, it probably will not be too difficult to get fair compensation. However, there are often many good reasons you will want a drunk driving accident lawyer on your side:

  • There is a dispute about liability. Drunk drivers who injure people 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 criminal court. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to cross-examine the drunk driver in a deposition 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 realize their duty when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, that is not always the case. Even in the event that the driver does take responsibility, 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 a talented drunk driving accident lawyer will fight back and let the insurance adjuster know we mean business.
  • There are other parties you can make a claim against. While a drunk driver is clearly to blame, other entities may bear partial responsibility, such as the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will carry out a thorough investigation and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. Finding other liable parties is crucial when the policy limits are not sufficient to fairly compensate you.
  • Your injuries require ongoing care. The more severe your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing your damages more difficult, and motivates the insurance company to try to devalue your damages as much as possible. Skilled and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only be able to calculate and demand full compensation, 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 familiar with Illinois laws who will be honest with you about whether the insurance company is offering a fair settlement.

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

Seeing how many people choose to drink and drive can be incredibly sobering. Every day there are about 28 fatal drunk driving accidents, or about one fatality in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have steadily been on the decline in the last four decades, 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 certainly helped, some selfish Waterloo, IL individuals still decide to jeopardize others' safety just so they party and avoid paying for a rideshare. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you are owed a full financial recovery and the careless driver needs to pay for what they did. The Waterloo, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will use or skills and dedication to see wrongs made right.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts found that almost 20 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved a drunk driver. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, 37.1 percent tested positive.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Waterloo, 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 significantly impair someone's driving skills. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to multi-task, exaggerated confidence and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - the product of about three drinks - a motorist suffers from decreased coordination, inability to follow moving objects, difficulty using the steering wheel and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is imperative to exercise great caution and always have someone else drive if you are intoxicated. Unfortunately, sometimes you can commit to protecting others on the road and still be left reeling from the horrible and unfair consequences of a thoughtless Waterloo, IL driver not caring about the rules, driving drunk and harming 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 accomplished and tenacious Waterloo, 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 feeling that true justice was achieved.

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

  • The driver had more than two previous DUI offenses
  • 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 lead to 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 Waterloo, IL?

Typically, when you are proving negligence in a personal injury claim, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers must demonstrate the five elements of negligence:

  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 do what they should have in order to avoid hurting you.
  3. Cause in Fact That your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
  4. Proximate Cause That the defendant's failure to use reasonable care was the direct cause of the accident.
  5. Damages That the accident led to tangible loss, such as monetary damages like damage to your car as well as noneconomic damages. It is important to note that in personal injury claims you cannot make a claim for for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained 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 specifically states that people who get behind the wheel of a vehicle 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 principle 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 the first two elements are granted automatically as long as you can demonstrate that the driver was inebriated. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to demonstrate is that the driver caused the accident and injured you.

Negligence per se does not mean you will automatically get the financial recovery you deserve; drunk drivers often do not want to be held accountable and their insurance companies do what they can to help their profits. That is why it is crucial to have committed and experienced Waterloo, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and fight until you get the financial recovery you are owed.

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

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

A Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Dram shop laws allow you to sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if you were injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are explained in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law is different from 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 a visibly intoxicated person. You just have to prove:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness or employee depositions
  • That the patron they supplied alcohol 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 supplies their private guests with alcohol — if the person who caused your accident was not old enough to drink legally and became inebriated at the private residence.

Every year the Illinois Comptroller stipulates dram shop liability limits on how much compensation you can receive in a dram shop case. 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 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 some of your damages. 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 suit in Waterloo, 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 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 Waterloo, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your accident. Doing so will not only make sure every negligent 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 Waterloo, 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 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 for lost wages, chiropractic appointments and the physical strain involved with rehabilitating from a neck injury for a few months. In the most destructive cases, for example if you lose a loved one, no financial recovery can be expected to make you whole, but the settlement or verdict should be great enough to provide a least some sense of justice.

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 an unbiased dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any emergency room visits, operations, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical therapy appointments and in-home care. You will also be paid for any treatment, joint replacements or replacement assistive devices you may need in the future.
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity — Lost wages refer to the pay you lost from not being on the job as you were healing. If your injury resulted in a disability that no longer permits you to perform the tasks required of your job, you will also be compensated for the salary you would have made in the future, but for the injuries.
    • Out-of-pocket expenses — If you had to pay for Uber to and from medical appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, you need to be reimbursed for that too.

    If we have to take into consideration future medical bills 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 emotional effects on your well-being, which can be anything anything from pain when bending over to tie your shoes to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you sustained life-long physical or cognitive impairments because of the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your spouse from the love and intimate relationships you once had.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same guidance and camaraderie they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury claims, and are meant to punish the drunk driver and deter future misbehavior. We are aggressive in our pursuit of punitive damages in drunk driving accident claims. Not only does that increase your compensation, but it also puts the insurance company on their heels as 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 conduct. It is clear to us that anyone who gets behind the wheel while intoxicated is demonstrating a shameless lack of respect for your safety.

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

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Waterloo, 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 whose prioritize more money than morals. That is why each of our Waterloo-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has devoted their lives to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV or billboards. When we are not working tirelessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly honing our lawyer skills to deliver great recoveries for our clients in Waterloo and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's terrible actions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Waterloo, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.

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David and Fran Schneider

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