Making you whole again after a drunk driver's reckless decision left you to pick up the pieces

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Waukegan, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Waukegan, IL. If an irresponsible drunk driver harmed you or a family member, call the Waukegan, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free case review. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Waukegan and throughout Illinois by securing them the maximum compensation they are owed.

You can do everything right to protect yourself and your loved ones, but thoughtless drivers can still put you in harm's way and unfairly injure you. Whether you were on your way to a sports game or just running errands, your life was unexpectedly turned upside down when you did nothing wrong. The Waukegan, 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 piling up, you are losing time off work and your life is not the same as it just a short while ago. We will be by your side until things are made right again. With the dedication, knowledge and unshakable legal counsel of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of defending the rights of the injured, we have gotten over $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Waukegan and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Our initial consultation and investigation is free, and you do not owe us a thing until we win your case.

If you were injured by a reckless drunk driver, discover how much your claim 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 Waukegan, 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. Still, a personal injury lawyer is still necessary to get you full compensation for your injuries. Skilled, accomplished and aggressive drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get justice 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 Waukegan, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

Every crash 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, it may not be worth it to hire an attorney. However, many other circumstances require legal representation for the best results:

  • The other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who cause injuries will go in front of a judge in criminal court, and may not want to admit guilt in order to not be sentenced in criminal court. While while not every drunk driver is found guilty, you can still sue a drunk driver if they were found not guilty on state charges. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to obtain key evidence in order to get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance adjuster does not want to pay for all of your damages. In a perfect world insurance companies would fulfill their duty when one of their policyholders decides to make a irresponsible decision that winds up injuring you, far too often that does not happen. Even in the event that the driver does take responsibility, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries are pre-existing or that a lawyer will only take money from you. None of that is true, and a knowledgeable 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 liable, other parties may be at fault, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly let them use the car while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify anyone who bears responsibility for the accident. Finding other liable parties is crucial when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries are severe. The more significant your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes valuing your damages more challenging, and will cause the insurance company to fight back against giving you a fair settlement. Aggressive and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, 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. Contact 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 direct with you about whether the insurance company is offering a fair settlement.

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 consistently become less common since 1982, drunk drivers still account for three-tenths of total traffic deaths as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly done wonders for reducing drunk driving, some careless Waukegan, IL individuals still make the irresponsible decision to disregard others' well-being while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. If you are harmed as a result, you deserve to be fairly reimbursed with a full recovery and the negligent driver needs to be held responsible for breaking the rules. The Waukegan, 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 almost 20 percent of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved a drunk driver. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of 37.1 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Waukegan, 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 just .02 percent is enough to greatly hinder someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks at the same time, exaggerated confidence and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - the product of approximately three alcohol beverages - a driver experiences reduced coordination, reduced ability to trace movement, difficulty using the steering wheel and a slower response to emergency situations. It is key to follow proper road safety and let someone else take the wheel if you have had too much to drink. Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still be left to pick up the pieces after the devastating consequences of a reckless Waukegan, IL driver not caring about the rules, driving while intoxicated and harming you or a loved one. 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 experienced and aggressive Waukegan, 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 begin on the road to being made whole again.

Drunk Driving Laws in Waukegan and Illinois

According to 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, driving while drunk on under the influence of drugs is a Class A Misdemeanor. However, a it 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 lead to great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to someone else
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that resulted in bodily harm

Other instances in which it is a more serious crime include:

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Waukegan, IL?

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

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant had a responsibility to keep you safe.
  2. Breach of Duty That the driver 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 defendant's breach of duty is the reason for the accident.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like medical bills as well as mental anguish. It is important to note that in personal injury claims you cannot receive compensation for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

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 drivers have an obligation 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 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 prove 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 insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is key to have dedicated and skilled Waukegan, IL drunk driving accident lawyers by your side to get the financial recovery you deserve.

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

A driver is not the only one who may be held accountable 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 sustained damages. Illinois' dram shop laws are explained in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law less strict 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 at fault. You just have to prove:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can show through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the patron they sold 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 person who caused your accident was not of legal age to drink and became drunk at the party.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller stipulates dram shop liability limits on the maximum amount of money a person or organization can be required to pay in a dram shop claim. As of Jan. 20, 2022, the maximum is $77,787.30 for each person incurring damages, 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, you may be able to make a claim against the owner. In a negligent entrustment case, a person may be liable if they permit a third person to use a thing which is under the control of the actor if that would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. In a drunk driving accident case in Waukegan, 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 in no condition to operate a vehicle.

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. Negligence that could result in liability could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Waukegan, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your accident. Doing so will not only make sure every at-fault party is held accountable, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

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

Tort 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 receive a financial recovery that is equal to the economic loss and physical pain their negligence put you through. In many car accident claims, for example a simple fender-bender, that might mean paying for lost wages, physical therapy appointments and the pain that comes with rehabilitating from a neck injury for a little while. In the most destructive cases, for example if you or a loved one loses a limb, no amount of money can truly make you whole, 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 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, surgeries, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical therapy 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 medical appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you deserve to be reimbursed for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical expenses 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 emotional effects on your well-being, which can include anything from pain when sleeping in certain positions to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability for any life-long physical or cognitive challenges the drunk driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if the accident result in permanent scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your significant other from the love and intimate relationships you are used to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries impede you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same counsel and care that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury claims, and are intended to punish the defendant and discourage 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 maximize your financial recovery, but it also makes the insurance company nervous because there is no coverage for punitive damages 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 reckless conduct. At Burger Law, we have learned that anyone who drives intoxicated how much of a potential threat they are to other people on the roads.

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

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Waukegan, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including selfish drivers do not respect other people's safety and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more money than morals. That is why each of our Waukegan-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has devoted their lives to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We have no interest in TV commercials or billboards. When we are not working tirelessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly fine-tuning our abilities to deliver the best results for our clients in Waukegan 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 Waukegan, 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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