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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Wilmette, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Wilmette, IL. If a reckless drunk driver harmed you or someone you care about, call the Wilmette, 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 Wilmette and throughout Illinois by fighting on their behalf so they can focus on healing.

You can do everything right to protect yourself and your loved ones, but irresponsible drivers can still cause incredible devastation. Whether you were driving home from dinner or lazily driving around on a Saturday, your life was immediately completely disrupted when you did nothing wrong. The Wilmette, 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 accumulating, you may not be able to work because of your injuries and it is hard to get the same enjoyment out of life that you did in the recent past. We will be by your side until things are made right again. With the compassions, skill and tenacious legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of defending the rights of the injured, we have won more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Wilmette, IL clients. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and we do not charge any fees until you get the great compensation you deserve.

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

The criminal justice system will likely seek a guilty verdict in criminal court. However, a personal injury lawyer is still necessary to get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Skilled, accomplished 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 fight back against bullies.

Do I Need Wilmette, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

The only way to know when to hire a personal injury lawyer is by having a professional examine the details of your case. If the driver is taking responsibility for his actions and your injuries are minor and only require a quick trip to the emergency room, 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:

  • There is a dispute about liability. Drunk drivers who cause accidents will probably be prosecuted, and may be motivated not to cooperate in order to not face fines, a suspended license and possibly jail time. 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 cross-examine the drunk driver in a deposition in order to hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance company refuses to offer a full settlement. In a perfect world insurance companies would realize their duty when one of their policyholders decides to make a selfish decision that winds up injuring you, far too often that does not happen. Even if the driver admits liability, the insurance company might try to persuade you that your injuries are pre-existing or you waited too long to seek medical treatment. Those are all lies, and a skilled drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the financial recovery you are owed.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is clearly to blame, other parties may bear partial responsibility, such as the driver's employer. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. Finding other liable parties is vital when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries require ongoing care. The more severe your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more difficult, and makes it more likely the insurance company will try to claim they do not have to pay for all of your medical expenses. Skilled 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, our consultations and initial investigations are free. 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 the insurance company is offering a fair settlement.

How Often Do Drunk Driving Accidents Happen in Missouri and the U.S.?

Understanding just how bad the problem of drinking and driving can be quite 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 consistently been on the decline in the last 40 years, drunk drivers are still responsible for three-tenths of all auto related deaths. While awareness campaigns and strict punishments for drunk driving have certainly helped, some reckless Wilmette, IL residents still choose to jeopardize others' safety just so they can have a good time and avoid paying for an Uber. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you deserve to be justly reimbursed with a maximum recovery and the careless driver needs to be held responsible for the harm they have caused. The Wilmette, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will fight to make sure that you receive maximum compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts found that almost one-fifth of the 1,088 fatal crashes in the state involved alcohol. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, over a third tested positive.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Wilmette, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, a level of only .02 percent is enough 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 multi-task, a change in mood and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - reached after roughly three alcohol beverages - a driver experiences decreased coordination, reduced ability to follow moving objects, challenges maneuvering and not being able to respond in enough time to emergency situations. It is vital to follow proper road safety and find other means of getting home if you are not in the best condition to drive. Unfortunately, sometimes you can do everything possible to stay safe and still experience the catastrophic consequences of a thoughtless Wilmette, IL motorist making a selfish decision, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated and harming you or someone you love. Just knowing that the negligent driver will likely face criminal charges, steep fees, restrictions on their license and possibly jail time is not enough. Trust in the savvy and skilled Wilmette, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to see things made right. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to go over your case and start on the road to feeling that true justice was achieved.

Drunk Driving Laws in Wilmette and Illinois

Under 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 lead to great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another
  • 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 Wilmette, 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 use reasonable care.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident caused your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the accident would not have happened but for the defendant's failure to act in a way that avoided hurting you.
  5. Damages That the accident led to tangible loss, such as monetary damages like medical bills 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 a monetary loss.

There are two factors that make drunk driving accident lawsuits different from most other personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 stipulates that motorists are to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. Meaning the first element is a given. Secondly, the legal doctrine of negligence per se stipulates that anyone who breaks the law is automatically considered to have breached their duty of care. 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 at that point is that the accident caused your injuries and that you incurred losses as a result.

While it may seem like that makes a drunk driving case a slam-dunk, 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 tenacious and skilled Wilmette, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and fight until you get the best results in your claim.

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

The driver is clearly at fault for their irresponsible decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers familiar with Illinois law will be able to conduct a full investigation and determine if any of the other following parties share liability:

A Licensed Alcohol Vendor or Social Host

Many states have what is called a dram shop law, under which you may be able sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if you were injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are specified in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law more liberal 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 show:

  • That the establishment sold the driver alcohol, which you can show through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness or employee testimony
  • That the customer they supplied alcohol to was responsible for the drunk driving accident
  • 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 not of legal age to drink and became drunk at the private residence.

Annually, the Illinois Comptroller stipulates dram shop liability limits on how much a establishment or social host is required to pay out. As of Jan. 20, 2022, those limits are $77,787.30 for each person incurring damages, or $95,073.37 if the accident led to loss of support or loss of society a family member's wrongful death.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the vehicle, the owner may also owe you compensation. In a negligent entrustment claim, 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 case in Wilmette, 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 you were injured by someone who works as a driver, such as in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may have some liability. Examples of negligence on the part of the employer could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Wilmette, 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 accountable, but will also increase your compensation and secure you the full financial recovery you are owed.

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

The civil court system in the United States is based on the principle of making one whole. "Being made whole" means that when another party is at-fault for your damages, you should be paid a dollar amount commensurate to the extent of your damages. In many car accident claims, for example a rear-end accident, that might mean paying for lost wages, follow-up doctors' appointments and the physical strain that is a result of rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a relatively short period of time. In the most tragic cases, for example if you or a loved one becomes paralyzed, no financial recovery can truly make you whole, but the financial recovery should be high enough to encapsulate the terrible loss you have sustained.

There are three categories 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 firm dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the injury, surgeries, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical rehabilitation 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 — Lost wages refer to the pay you lost from not being on the job as you were healing. 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 transportation to and from medical appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you need to be compensated for that too.

    In the case of future medical expenses 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 refers to 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 bending over to tie your shoes to the emotional impact of not being able to pick up your kids anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive challenges the drunk driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries result in permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your significant other from the love and intimate relationships you grew accustomed to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries prevent you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same counsel and camaraderie they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and discourage others from making the same mistakes. We are aggressive in our pursuit of punitive damages in drunk driving accident claims. Not only does that help get you the money you are owed, 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 argue in favor of punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially appalling conduct. At Burger Law, we believe that anyone who drives drunk knows exactly how reckless they are being.

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

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Wilmette, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including selfish drivers do not value other people's safety and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more their profits than doing the right thing. For that reason, each of our Wilmette-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has committed 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 tirelessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are consistently honing our lawyer skills to deliver great recoveries for our clients in Wilmette and throughout Illinois. We know you did nothing to become injured; someone else's dangerous decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Wilmette, 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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