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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Winnetka, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Winnetka, 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 Winnetka, 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 Winnetka and throughout Illinois by fighting on their behalf so they can focus on healing.

You can do everything you are supposed to to keep other drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe, but reckless drivers can still cause unfathomable devastation. Whether you were coming back to town after a long weekend or lazily driving around on a Saturday, your life was unexpectedly completely disrupted when you did nothing wrong. The Winnetka, 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 you cannot earn a living right now and it is hard to get the same enjoyment out of life that you did just a short while ago. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the commitment, knowledge and forceful 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 recovered more than $175 million in verdicts and settlements for our Winnetka, IL clients. Talking to us is free, and you do not owe us a thing until you receive the settlement check you deserve.

If you were harmed by a selfish drunk driver, discover how much your injuries may be worth by utilizing 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 Winnetka, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

A prosecutor will likely hold a drunk driver accountable in criminal court. But, you will still need a personal injury lawyer to confront the drunk driver in civil court and get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Knowledgeable, seasoned and tenacious 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 Winnetka, 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 there is no dispute about who is at fault 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 other driver will not admit fault. Drunk drivers who cause injuries will go in front of a judge in criminal court, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. While a knowledgeable defense lawyer may be able to get a drunk driver off on criminal charges, 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 utilize their investigative and litigation skills in order to get you the results you deserve.
  • The insurance adjuster does not want to pay for all of your damages. Ideally insurance companies would recognize their commitment when one of their policyholders injures you in a drunk driving accident, that is not always the case. Even if the driver admits liability, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries were not actually caused by the accident or you waited too long to seek medical treatment. None of that is true, and an accomplished drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the compensation you are owed.
  • There are other parties you can make a claim against. While a drunk driver is obviously liable, other parties may bear partial responsibility, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly let them use the car while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will perform a thorough investigation and identify all liable parties. This is especially vital 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 severe 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 knowledgeable 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. Call us now at (314) 500-HURT to speak for a candid conversation with a drunk driving accident lawyer experienced with Illinois laws who will be direct with you about whether we can add to your claim.

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

Seeing how many people choose to drink and drive can be pretty sobering. Every day 28 people are killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers, adding up to roughly one fatality in just under an hour. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have consistently become less common since 1982, drunk drivers are still responsible for 29 percent of all auto related deaths. While safe driving campaigns and stiff punishments for drunk driving have certainly helped, some careless Winnetka, IL residents still make the terrible decision to put others at risk while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. When that happens and you or a loved one are injured, you are owed a full financial recovery and the careless driver needs to be held accountable for what they did. The Winnetka, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts states that almost 20 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved a drunk driver. Alcohol was found in the symptoms of 37.1 percent of 448 deceased drivers who were tested.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Winnetka, 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 only .02 percent is sufficient to substantially impair someone's ability to drive. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in visual functions, inability to multi-task, exaggerated confidence and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - reached after approximately three alcohol beverages - a motorist suffers from lowered coordination, inability to track movement, difficulty maneuvering and a slower response to emergency situations. It is imperative to exercise great caution and always have someone else drive if you are not in the best condition to drive. Unfortunately, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still experience the terrible consequences of a reckless Winnetka, IL driver disregarding your safety, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated and harming you or someone you care about. Just knowing that the negligent driver will likely face criminal charges, steep fees, restrictions on their license and possibly jail time does not make you whole again. Trust in the accomplished and aggressive Winnetka, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to see things made right. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to discuss your options and begin on the path to healing.

Drunk Driving Laws in Winnetka and Illinois

Pursuant 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 DUI 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 lead to great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to someone else
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that lead to bodily harm

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

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

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

  1. Duty of Care That the driver 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 the accident caused your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the driver's breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as economic damages like damage to your car as well as pain and suffering. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were also economic damages.

There are two factors that make drunk driving accident lawsuits different from most other personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 dictates that drivers have an obligation 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 principle of negligence per se means that anyone who violates a state statute 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 show is that the driver caused the accident and that that is how you sustained your injuries.

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 vital to have committed and skilled Winnetka, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up to bullies and get the compensation you are owed.

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

The driver is clearly liable for their reckless decision making, but drunk driving accident lawyers well-versed in 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 bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if the accident caused you injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are stipulated in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law more liberal than many other states' in that the drunk driver did not have to show significant impairment when they were sold alcohol in order for the vendor to be liable. You just have to prove:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can show through security footage, receipts or eyewitness or employee depositions
  • That the patron they supplied alcohol to caused your injuries
  • 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 intoxicated at the party.

Annually, the Illinois Comptroller places 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 incurring damages, or $95,073.37 if the accident resulted in 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, the owner may also owe you compensation. According to the doctrine of negligent entrustment, a person may be liable if they permit someone else to use something which is under the control of the actor if that would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. In a drunk driving accident suit in Winnetka, 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 had had to much too drink.

The Driver's Employer

If you were injured by a commercial driver, for example 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:

Experienced Winnetka, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have experience with all of these types of claims and know how to get results in them. When you hire us, we start investigating your claim right away to determine everyone who is responsible for your injuries.

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

Civil claims in the United States are based on the principle of being made whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone 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 simple fender-bender, that might mean paying money you lost from work while recovering, physical therapy appointments and the pain and inconvenience that is a result of rehabilitating from a neck injury for a little while. In the most tragic cases, for example if you or a loved one loses a limb, no amount of money can genuinely compensate you, but the amount 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 a non-arguable dollar amount. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any emergency room visits, operations, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical rehabilitation 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 receive the full amount of the wages 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 transportation to and from medical appointments, or had to invest in childcare while you were recovering, you need a financial recovery for that too.

    If your injuries result in future medical expenses 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 difficulty sleeping in certain positions to the emotional impact of not being able to engage in the same activities anymore.
    • Disability if you sustained permanent physical or cognitive challenges because of the accident.
    • Disfigurement if the accident result in permanent scarring.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your spouse from the love and intimate relationships you once had.
    • Loss of society if the injuries impede you from giving or your loved ones from receiving the same advice and camaraderie that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury compensation, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and discourage future misbehavior. When we make a claim against drunk drivers, we always pursue punitive damages. Not only does that maximize your compensation, but it also helps secure a fair settlement from the insurance company because their policyholders do not pay for punitive damages in their policies 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 egregious behavior. It is clear to us that anyone who sits in the drivers seat while under the influence is demonstrating a shameless lack of respect for your safety.

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

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Winnetka, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including selfish drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies focus more on their profits than doing the right thing. For that reason, each of our Winnetka-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has devoted their careers to defending the rights of the injured and vulnerable. You will not see us on TV commercials or billboards. When we are not investigating claims or in the courtroom defending the rights of our clients, our drunk driving accident lawyers are constantly sharpening our abilities to get the best results for our clients in Winnetka and throughout Illinois. We know you deserve it because we know you did nothing to put yourself in this situation; someone else's irresponsible actions did. For expert, empathetic and aggressive representation, call the Winnetka, 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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