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

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Zion, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Zion, 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 Zion, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a complimentary case evaluation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Zion 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 drunk drivers can still cause incredible devastation. Whether you were on your way to a sports game or just running errands, your life was unexpectedly capsized when you did nothing wrong. The Zion, 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 everything seems different than it was before your accident. You do not have to go through this alone. With the commitment, knowledge and unshakable legal advocacy 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 for our Zion, 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 injured by a careless drunk driver, find out 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 Zion, 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. But, only a personal injury lawyer can get you the monetary reimbursement you are owed. Talented, seasoned and persistent 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 Zion, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

That depends on the specifics 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 the driver accepts blame 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, there are many situations in which a drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to significantly add value to your claim:

  • There is a dispute about liability. Drunk drivers who cause accidents will probably be prosecuted, and may not want to admit liability in order to not face the harsh penalties of a DUI. While drunk driving charges can sometimes be dropped or reduced, 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 hold the negligent driver accountable.
  • The insurance adjuster does not want to pay for all of your damages. While you would like to think insurance companies would realize their obligation when one of their policyholders drives drunk and injures you, an insurance adjusters real job is to save the company money, not fairly compensate you. Even in the event that the driver is willing to be held accountable, the insurance company might try to convince you that your injuries were not actually caused by the accident or that they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. None of that is true, and an accomplished drunk driving accident lawyer will not let them get away with them.
  • The drunk driver is not the only one responsible. While a drunk driver is obviously at fault, other entities may bear partial responsibility, such as a restaurant that overserved the driver. Drunk driving accident lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation and identify everyone whose negligence contributed to your injuries. Finding other liable parties is crucial when your damages exceed the driver's insurance policy limits.
  • Your injuries are severe. The more serious your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes valuing your damages more complex, and makes it more likely the insurance company will try to claim they do not have to pay for all of your medical expenses. Aggressive 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 directly to a drunk driving accident lawyer familiar with Illinois laws who will be direct 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 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 deaths have steadily been on the decline in the last 40 years, drunk drivers are still responsible for almost a third of all auto related deaths. While awareness campaigns and strict punishments for drunk driving have definitely done wonders for reducing drunk driving, some selfish Zion, IL residents still decide to jeopardize others' safety 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 reckless driver needs to be held accountable for what they did. The Zion, 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 a drunk driver. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, 37.1 percent tested positive.

How Alcohol Affects Driving | Zion, 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 considerably hinder someone's driving skills. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration you experience a decline in visual functions, inability to multi-task, an altered mood and inadequate judgment. At .05 percent - the product of roughly three drinks - someone experiences decreased coordination, inability to track movement, difficulty steering and not being able to respond quickly to emergency situations. It is crucial to follow proper road safety and find other means of transport if you are intoxicated. Regrettably, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still be left reeling from the devastating consequences of a reckless Zion, IL driver disregarding your safety, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated 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 is not enough. Trust in the savvy and skilled Zion, 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 road to healing.

Drunk Driving Laws in Zion 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
  • An accident occurred that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that lead to personal injury

Other instances in which the penalty is more severe include:

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

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

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant was required to act in a certain, safe way.
  2. Breach of Duty That the driver did not act in a way that kept you safe.
  3. Cause in Fact That your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
  4. Proximate Cause That the accident would not have happened but for the defendant's breach of duty.
  5. Damages That you have sustained losses, such as monetary damages like damage to your car as well as emotional distress. It is important to mention that in personal injury claims you cannot make a claim for for noneconomic damages if you have not sustained a monetary loss.

There are two factors that make drunk driving accident claims different from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 stipulates that people who get behind the wheel of a vehicle are required to to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with anyone else on the road. 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 doctrine 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 prove is that the driver caused the accident and that that is how you sustained your injuries.

While it may seem like that makes a drunk driving case a slam-dunk, the insurance company will still be motivated to pay you as little as possible. That is why it is crucial to have dedicated and skilled Zion, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up to bullies and get the compensation you deserve.

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

It is important to find all liable parties, especially if the driver has policy limits that do not fully compensate you for your damages. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to make a claim against:

A Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Dram shop laws allow you to sue a licensed alcohol vendor after a drunk driving accident if you sustained injuries. Illinois' dram shop laws are specified in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law is different from 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 at fault. You just have to demonstrate:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate through surveillance video, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the customer they served was responsible for your injuries
  • 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 drunk driver was not old enough to drink legally and became drunk at the party.

Each year 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, the maximum is $77,787.30 for each injured party, or $95,073.37 if the accident resulted in loss of support or loss of society because of the wrongful death of a loved one.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If the driver was driving someone else's car, the owner may also owe you compensation. According to the doctrine of negligent entrustment, someone may owe you damages if they permit someone else to use a thing which is under the control of the actor if it would not be safe to do so. In a drunk driving accident claim in Zion, 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, 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. Reasons they are liable could include:

While drunk driving accident claims can seem pretty cut-and-dry, it is imperative to hire an experienced Zion, IL drunk driving accident lawyer so they can conduct an exhaustive investigation into your claim. 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 Zion, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Civil claims in the United States are based on the doctrine of making one whole. The idea behind the doctrine is that when someone is to blame 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 for lost wages, physical therapy appointments and the physical strain that comes with rehabilitating from a whiplash injury for a few months. In the most destructive cases, for example if you or a loved one loses a limb, no amount of money can truly compensate you, but the amount should be great enough to provide a least some sense of comfort.

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 figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the injury, surgeries, medications, physical therapy appointments and in-home nursing. You will also receive compensation for any medical bills that will arise in the future.
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity — You will be reimbursed for full amount of the wages you lost from not being on the job as you were healing. If your injury caused a long-term or permanent injury that no longer allows you to work, 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 physical therapy appointments, or had to hire a nanny to be able to take care of your kids, you deserve to be repaid for that too.

    If we have to take into consideration future medical bills or lost earning capacity, 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 mental tribulations you have been put through, which can be anything anything from pain when going up and down the stairs to the emotional impact of not being able to engage in the same activities anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive difficulties the accident caused.
    • Disfigurement if your injuries caused 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 your loved ones can no longer share the same counsel and care they once did.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury compensation, and are meant 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 financial recovery, but it also makes the insurance company nervous because punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies According to 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can seek punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially dangerous conduct. It is clear to us that anyone who sits in the drivers seat while intoxicated is demonstrating a blatant lack of respect for your safety.

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

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Zion, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We hate bullies, including reckless drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies who care more about their profits than doing the right thing. That is why each of our Zion-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 investigating and litigating cases, our drunk driving accident lawyers are regularly honing our lawyer skills to secure the best results for our clients in Zion and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's selfish actions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Zion, 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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