Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

Over $400 Million worth of case results

Awarded The Best Lawyer in 2024 by U.S. News

Nationally Recognized in Legal Community

Drunk driving is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in the US. Drunk drivers kill 28 people per day, or one person every 52 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Since 2012, more than 10,000 people have been killed in drunk driving accidents annually.

Most people know the legal consequences of driving intoxicated, yet roughly 30 million people nationwide admit to driving after consuming alcohol. If you contact a Chicago drunk driving accident lawyer, you might be entitled to financial compensation if you or a loved one suffered severe injuries from a DUI accident.

A personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, can offer you legal representation and are committed to bringing the responsible parties to justice.

Contact a car accident lawyer at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation. We handle Chicago drunk driving crash cases on a contingency fee basis, only charging legal fees when we successfully obtain a recovery on your behalf.

Alcohol Impaired Car Accident Illinois

Drunk Driving Statistics of DUI Auto Accidents in Chicago And Across Illinois

  • Illinois has a “zero tolerance” policy where a drunk driver with an intoxicated driving conviction loses their driver’s license.
  • More than one out of every four auto accident deaths in the US have alcohol as a factor.
  • Illinois had 291 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes in 2018, making up 29% of the auto accident cases in the state, according to police reports.
  • In Chicago, the state’s Department of Transportation (IDOT) [1] reported 250 injuries and six traffic deaths related to motor vehicle crashes in 2018.
Drunk Driving Accident Injuries

While the state may take criminal action against the reckless behavior of another driver, the criminal court will not take any action to compensate injured victims.

The penalty is severe – under state laws, defendants of DUI crashes lose their driving privileges and can face additional criminal charges, particularly if the injuries were catastrophic or resulted in death.

When pursuing compensation for medical bills and other damages regarding severe injuries, drunk driving victims must initiate a preventable death or insurance company accident claim against the drunk driver.

Exceptional circumstances might be needed to award punitive damages, whereas auto accident lawsuits only award compensatory damages to victims due to the negligence of accident drivers.

Illinois’s legal limit for blood alcohol content levels while driving a motor vehicle is 0.08%, which is about three drinks for women and four drinks for men.

A driver need not be legally drunk to be impaired by alcohol.[2] Even for those with lower blood alcohol measures, alcohol can still be a factor in the crash.

Evidence of alcohol consumption at the accident scene noted in the police officer report could support a drunk driving court case.

Chicago Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

Damages Available to People Seriously Injured In Chicago DUI Auto Accidents

Injuries caused by a vehicular accident can lead to several physical and financial damages.

The state estimates the medical costs to treat injuries sustained in an automobile accident at over $100,000 per incident.

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our Chicago attorneys frequently seek the following compensatory damages to protect our client’s legal rights:

  • Lost wages for time missed from work, both in the past and future. Many victims cannot return to work after the accident, primarily if they worked a physical job and sustained a traumatic brain injury.
  • Accident victims can be compensated for their injuries, including pain and suffering [3], bills, and property damage.

Potential Defendants in A Chicago Drunk Driving Lawsuit

In many cases, the plaintiff is capped to recover damages from the driver due to the insurance company policy limits on coverage.

It is here where civil claims against numerous possible defendants exist in a DUI case to recover maximum compensation.

Possible Defendants in an Alcohol-Related Auto Accident Case

The impaired driver

The motorist driving under the influence would be liable for the damage they caused in the accident and face suspended/revoked driving privileges.

The driver’s employer

If the driver was in a company car at the time of the accident and was on duty, there is a possible lawsuit against the company that employed the driver since they would be considered an agent of their employer.

The police department

The police could pursue an inebriated driver when the DUI driver endangers lives. Then, the police officers would be legally liable for the injuries in the DUI accident [4] for not conducting a thorough investigation.

The establishment that served alcohol to a drunk patron

In many states, there is something called “dram shop laws.” Dram shop law holds a bar or tavern responsible for serving alcoholic beverages for pain and suffering caused by the driver under the influence.

Contact a personal injury lawyer from our law firm to assist you with legal counsel regarding your DUI accident liability insurance claim or wrongful death lawsuit.

Successfully Resolving a Case Against a Driver under the Influence

Generally, DUI cases will be easier to prove than regular car accident cases. [5] In both cases, you have to prove negligence. If you can prove that the driver was behind the wheel while intoxicated, you have taken a crucial step towards establishing their negligence.

You must demonstrate in court that the driver was under the influence to prove a DUI lawsuit. The maximum driver’s blood alcohol content that is allowable in Illinois is 0.08%.

Blood alcohol concentration levels under this law can still be grounds for a DUI accident case.

Out of Court Settlements

Based on the statistics, drunk driving accident attorneys will likely settle your lawsuit out of court. An overwhelming majority of these types of cases are settled out of court.

Insurance companies mostly want no part of a DUI trial as a jury can send a strong message with a high punitive damages award. [6]

In many cases, insurance companies will settle a DUI case filed for the drunk driver’s insurance policy limit, leaving the plaintiff to look for other damages to compensate for their injuries fully.

Chicago, Illinois Drunk Driving Accidents FAQs

Below are frequent questions our clients raise about drunk driving accidents. If you have more questions, we invite you to contact our law offices and discuss your case with a lawyer in a free case evaluation.

What Happens If You Crash a Car While Drunk?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a conviction involving driving under the influence could leave you with a criminal record and expensive fines.

The other driver might be drunk or high from illegal drugs, anxiety medications, sleep aids, caffeine pills, or other substances that alter their ability to drive safely.

What Time Do Most DUI Accidents Occur?

Statistics maintained by AAA Foundation [7] for Traffic Safety revealed that nearly one in three fatal car accidents involving impaired motorists occurs on weekends.

Fatal accidents involving drugs or alcohol are 400% more likely to occur during nighttime hours. The highest incident rate of driving drunk car accidents occurs from 12:00 AM to 3:00 AM.

Is Motor Insurance Valid If You Are Drunk?

Policy coverage differs between auto insurance carriers concerning driving intoxicated.

Your or the other driver’s insurance will likely pay for all damages, injuries, medical expenses, and preventable death.

How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against An Intoxicated Driver?

In Illinois, you have two years to file a claim with the insurance company or a lawsuit to recover economic damages for personal injuries or preventable death.

If you bring a claim under the state’s Dram Shop Law or Liquor Control Act, you have one year to file a lawsuit.

How Can DUI Lawyers Help With a Personal Injury Case?

While there is no legal requirement to have an attorney represent you, hiring a Chicago DUI injury lawyer will provide you with the most effective advocacy on your behalf –

  • A wrongful death claim can be filed if you lose a loved one based on a driver’s intoxication beyond the legal limit.
  • If you have been injured in a tragic drunk driving accident or lost a loved one, your injuries may take many months to heal and rehabilitate. A personal injury claim, in whichever form, may also be hard to value, given the extent of the injuries and lost wages, [8] and a lawyer can assist with the valuation.
  • An injury lawyer can negotiate your claim with the other driver’s insurance company and take the case to court if the settlement offer is insufficient to compensate you for your injuries.

An experienced Chicago injury attorney can help you and your family through all stages of the process of filing a drunk driving accident claim.

Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help You Hold a Drunk Driver Liable

The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are here to help you with your case to hold responsible parties accountable for a Northern Illinois DUI accident.

Contact a drunk driving accident attorney at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your personal injury case and how we can help you or your family member with the legal process.

Our drunk driving accident lawyers work on contingency, meaning that we are not paid unless you successfully receive compensation. You owe us nothing if we do not win your drunk driving accident case.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with your attorney remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Resources: [1] IDOT, [2] NCBI, [3], [4] FMCSA, [5] NHTSA, [6], [7] AAA Foundation, [8]

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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