Making you whole again after a drunk driver's selfish decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Winnebago County, IL

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

You can do everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones, but drunk drivers can still cause unimaginable damage. Whether you were on your way to a sports game or just running errands, all of a sudden your entire life was completely disrupted when you did nothing wrong. The Winnebago County, 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 are losing time off work and your life is not the same as it in the recent past. We will be by your side until things are made right again. With the dedication, skill and unshakable legal advocacy of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our over 30 years of litigating and trying cases, we have recovered more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Winnebago County, IL clients. Our case reviews are no-risk, no-obligation, and we do not charge any fees until we win your case.

If you were hurt by an irresponsible drunk driver, see how much your injuries may be worth by using our free personal injury calculator.

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What Can Winnebago County, 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 a financial recovery for all of your damages. Talented, seasoned and tenacious 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 Winnebago County, 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, a lawyer likely will not be able to add much value to your claim. However, many other circumstances require an attorney for the best results:

  • The drunk driver will not take responsibility for their actions. Drunk drivers who cause injuries are likely looking at criminal charges as well, and may be motivated not to cooperate 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 cross-examine the drunk driver in a deposition in order to hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance adjuster does not want to pay for all of your damages. In a perfect world insurance companies would recognize their responsibility when one of their policyholders decides to make a irresponsible decision that ends up injuring you, that is not always the case. 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 a lawyer will only take money from you. None of that is true, and an accomplished drunk driving accident lawyer will fight back and let the insurance adjuster know we mean business.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is obviously liable, other entities may be at fault, such as a bar that overserved the driver. Drunk driving accident lawyers will thoroughly investigate your claim and identify anyone who bears responsibility for the accident. This is especially important when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries need extensive medical treatment. The more serious your injuries the higher your medical bills will be, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more challenging, and will cause the insurance company to fight back against giving you a fair settlement. Skilled and dedicated drunk driving accident lawyers will not only fight hard to get you the compensation you need and are owed, 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. Reach out to us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak directly to a drunk driving accident lawyer experienced with Illinois laws who will be straightforward with you about whether the insurance company is offering a fair settlement.

How Common is Drunk Driving in Winnebago County, 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 death in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and fatalities have consistently become less common since 1982, drunk drivers still account for almost a third of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While awareness campaigns and harsh punishments for drunk driving have definitely helped, some reckless Winnebago County, IL individuals still choose to put others at risk while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. If you are hurt as a result, you deserve to be justly reimbursed with a full recovery and the careless driver needs to be held responsible for the harm they have caused. The Winnebago County, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts states that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved alcohol. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of over a third of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Winnebago County, 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 impair someone's abilities behind the wheel. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks at the same time, an altered mood and poor judgment. At .05 percent - the product of roughly three alcohol beverages - a motorist experiences reduced coordination, inability to trace moving objects, challenges maneuvering and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is crucial to follow proper road safety and let someone else take the wheel if you have had too much to drink. Regrettably, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still be left reeling from the devastating consequences of a reckless Winnebago County, IL motorist disregarding your safety, getting behind the wheel drunk and hurting you or a family member. Just knowing that the negligent driver will likely face criminal charges, steep fees, restrictions on their license and possibly jail time cannot truly compensate you and your family for all of the ways they have impacted your life. Trust in the knowledgeable and talented Winnebago County, 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 path to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Winnebago County 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 it 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 another
  • 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 ensuing violations are Class X Felonies.

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Winnebago County, 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 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 driver's negligence.
  5. Damages That the negligence was the reason you sustained a loss, such as economic damages like damage to your car as well as noneconomic damages. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were also 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 dictates that drivers are to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. 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 stipulates that anyone who breaks the law is negligent as a matter of law. Therefore, in drunk driving cases the first two elements are taken care of under the condition that you have evidence that the driver was driving drunk. 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, drunk drivers often do not want to be held accountable and their insurance companies do what they can to help their bottom line. That is why it is imperative to have tenacious and skilled Winnebago County, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to fight on your behalf and fight until you get the financial recovery you deserve.

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

The driver is clearly liable for their horrible 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 Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Many states have what is known 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 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 someone underage. You just have to prove:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate with surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness or employee depositions
  • That the customer they supplied alcohol to caused the drunk driving accident
  • That the vendor is responsible for the patron being drunk

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 intoxicated at the private residence.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller sets 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, 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 a family member's wrongful death.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If you were injured by a vehicle that was not being driven by the owner, you may be able to make a claim against the owner. In a negligent entrustment claim, someone may owe you damages if they permit a third person to engage in an activity 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 Winnebago County, 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 was in no condition to operate a vehicle.

The Driver's Employer

If your accident was caused by a commercial driver, such as in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, the driver's employer may also owe you damages. Negligence that could result in liability could include:

Experienced Winnebago County, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have seen all of these types of negligence claims and know how to get results in them. When you hire us, we start investigating your accident right away to determine as many liable parties as possible.

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

Tort claims in the United States are based on the theory of making one whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone is responsible 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 simple fender-bender, being made whole means recovering compensation money you lost from work while recovering, chiropractic appointments and the pain and inconvenience involved with rehabilitating from a neck injury for a few months. In the most tragic cases, for example if you lose a family member, no amount of money can be expected to 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 a firm dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any emergency room visits, surgeries, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical therapy appointments and in-home care. 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 resulted in a long-term or permanent injury that no longer allows you to perform the tasks required of your job, you will also be compensated for the money you would have made in the future, but for the injuries.
    • Out-of-pocket expenses — If you had to pay for transportation to and from medical appointments, or had to invest in childcare while you were recovering, you deserve to be reimbursed for that too.

    If we have to take into consideration future medical costs or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will make sure the compensation 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 emotional effects on your well-being, which can be anything anything from pain when standing up and sitting down to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability if you sustained life-long physical or cognitive impairments after the accident.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries result in lasting scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries impede you and your significant other from the affection 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 care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are not common in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the defendant and deter future misbehavior. When we sue drunk drivers, we always seek punitive damages. Not only does that maximize your financial recovery, but it also makes the insurance company nervous as punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies 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 reckless conduct. It is clear to us that anyone who sits in the drivers seat while under the influence is demonstrating a flagrant disregard your safety.

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

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Winnebago County, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including reckless drivers who do not want to take responsibility for their actions and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more their profits than doing the right thing. For that reason, each of our Winnebago County-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their education and abilities to defending the rights of the injured and vulnerable. We are not on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not working tirelessly on one of our client's claims, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly sharpening our negotiation and trial skills to get great recoveries for our clients in Winnebago County 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 Winnebago County, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.

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