Illinois Drunk Driving Accident FAQ's
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people with catastrophic injuries suffered in accidents caused by a drunk driver. Our law firm has collected a series of drunk driving accident FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of a crash involving preventable, debilitating injuries and death. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Drunk Driving Accident FAQs
Serious vehicle accidents caused by negligent drivers are everyday occurrences that leave victims with a severe injury or dead. These unfortunate incidents are damaging enough without realizing the motorists who hit you was driving drunk, and the crash could have been easily avoided if the driver been acting responsibly.
Our legal team has assembled a comprehensive list of the most common frequently asked questions about drunk driving accidents and posted the answers below. Our law firm serves as an aggressive legal advocate for victims who want for justice and the financial compensation they deserve for their damages.
How many people die from drunk driving in America every year?
In 2015, more than 10,000 individuals died in impaired-driving accidents. This statistic translates to one fatality occurring every 51 minutes by drunk drivers. Nearly a third of all vehicle traffic fatalities occurring in America that year involved alcohol-impaired-driving
What should I do first if I was involved in an accident with a drunk driver?
No matter how severe your injuries are, even if you believe you were only mildly injured, you should still seek immediate medical attention to protect your rights to receive compensation. If assistance from a companion is available, have them collect as much information as possible to secure evidence from the crash scene. Have your friend use a smartphone or camera to take photographs of vehicle damage, the accident scene, debris in the roadway, and road/weather conditions. Documenting conditions and the outcome of the accident immediately after occurred can help prove a compensation claim in court before the evidence is lost.
Is there anything I should not do if I were involved in an accident with the drunk driver?
Yes. It is crucial not to discuss the accident, your claim for compensation or the evidence you need to prove your case in court with anyone other than a personal injury attorney. Any details you provide to the drunk driver's insurance company could be used as a tool against you to minimize your compensation. They could twist what you say to prove how the accident was your fault. Their investigators and claims adjuster might attempt to interview your friends to hear how you are talking about what happened in the crash.
My vehicle accident involved a hit-and-run drunk driver. How can I find out who hit us?
Drunk drivers who flee the scene of an accident make it challenging to file a claim against them for compensation. However, our law firm will conduct a thorough investigation to identify the driver or the vehicle owner. To ensure you receive compensation, we can help you file a claim for compensation through your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage under your insurance policy. If our investigators can identify the driver, we can verify where they were at the time of the accident by speaking to witnesses, pinpointing their location through cell phone data and backtracking their steps to a bar or restaurant that served them alcohol.
My injuries were too severe to get the other driver's information. What do I do?
Not to worry. More than likely, when 911 was called Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) got to the scene before or after law enforcement arrived. The local Police, County Deputy or Highway Patrol Officer would have filed a report from the scene of the accident to document known facts and their opinion as to what happened. Their report likely included your name and contact information along with your insurance provider and the name and contact details including the insurance provider of the drunk driver who allegedly caused the accident.
If the information is missing, your attorney working on your behalf will identify the other driver and their contact information when they conduct an in-house investigation to build your claim for compensation.
The driver of my vehicle consumed lots of alcohol and caused a crash. Can I sue?
Most articles on drunk driving involve a drunk driver crashing into another vehicle and hurting the other motorist. However, many passengers riding in the drunk driver's care find yourself in dire straits after suffering severe injuries when their impaired driver crashes the car. If this occurred, you have the legal right to file a compensation claim against the driver and receive compensation through your driver's insurance coverage. Additionally, an attorney working on your behalf might file a secondary claim against those who served your driver alcohol. These case defendants could be a restaurant, bar, or an individual who served alcohol at a party.
The driver who hit me was charged with drunk driving. That proves my civil case, right?
Not necessarily. In Illinois, any driver with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 0.08% is considered drunk, or too impaired to operate a car safely. However, just because law enforcement charged the driver with the DUI (driving under the influence) that does equate to being convicted of the crime and holding them legally liable to cover your damages and injuries.
Because of the strict limitations of the law, your personal injury attorney will need to prove how the driver was allegedly drunk based on the police report, blood tests and a breathalyzer. This evidence could be used in court or as a negotiating tool during a negotiated out of court settlement. An experienced lawyer working on your behalf can certainly proceed with your claim without the drunk driver's conviction to ensure you recover for your damages. The attorney might file a claim against additional parties including those that served the driver alcohol.
The court acquitted the driver of DUI. Do I no longer have a case for compensation?
Not at all. You are entitled to seek financial compensation from the allegedly drunk driver regardless of the criminal trial outcome. Proving your case in civil court is much different from winning a case in criminal court where the prosecutor must prove the allegedly drunk driver's guilt.
To prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor must show that the motorist was driving under the influence, which can be an extremely high burden. Alternatively, you are filing a civil case that requires that you only show a preponderance of the evidence that the motorist was allegedly driving drunk, which is a substantially lower threshold.
My loved one died from a drunk driver's irresponsible actions. Can I sue?
While filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be challenging if it involves a drunk driver's irresponsible actions, there might be a possibility of receiving compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have successfully resolved many wrongful death claims for family members who lost a loved one from someone else's negligent drunk driving.
How do I get paid for my medical bills and other expenses?
Typically, your personal injury attorney will assist you to ensure you receive adequate compensation through insurance policies that cover the drunk driver and others involved in the accident. Before the case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or a jury trial award, your attorney will ensure your insurance policy provides compensation to maintain your health and repair your property damage through two separate coverages including:
- Liability Coverage – This insurance coverage will pay for all your medical expenses, the cost of hospitalization, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings, temporary or permanent disability and non-tangible damages including pain, suffering, and emotional trauma.
- Collision – Insurance policies can contain collision coverage to pay for any damage to your vehicle (not including medical bills).
If the drunk driver did not have car insurance, your attorney could assist you in filing a claim on your insurance policy through your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
How can I hold the nightclub or bar partially responsible for my injuries?
If the motorist who caused your accident was driving drunk, your attorney might file claims against additional defendants including bars and restaurants under Illinois dram shop laws. The Illinois Dram Shop Act (235 ILCS 5/6-21) was enacted to create a:
“cause of action against owners of businesses that sell liquor, and against the lessors and owners of the premises on which the liquor is sold, for physical injury to a person, for injury to tangible property, or for injury to means of support or loss of society, but not both, caused by an intoxicated person.”
The Illinois law governs the liability of restaurants, liquor stores, taverns, bars and other establishments in business to serve liquor and other alcoholic beverages. The Illinois assembly established laws involving liquor-serving establishment liability that applies to drunk driving accident cases. The establishment can be held legally liable if they sold alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual or minor who subsequently caused an accident that led to injuries or death.
The Liquor Control Act law requires the victim, or their attorney, to prove specific elements in the case to successfully resolve their claim. These elements include:
- The business establishment sold one or more alcoholic beverages to the patron;
- The patron drinking alcohol, in fact, caused the victim's damages or injuries;
- The alcohol-serving establishment was the proximate cause of the drunk driver's intoxication;
- Intoxication is identified as one or more of the major causes of the victim's injuries.
Can I wait to file my claim later?
Not really. Under Illinois state law, you must file a claim for financial compensation before the state statute of limitations expires. If you delay past the last day you can submit a claim; you forfeit your right to seek financial compensation at any time in the future. Because of that, it is essential to speak to a personal injury attorney who can help you identify the exact date the statute expires based on the facts in your case.
How much will your attorneys charge to review my case?
Our law firm provides every potential client a no-obligation, initial case consultation at no charge. Call our law offices today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule an appointment. Let our team of attorneys discuss your case, listen to your complaints, and provide numerous legal options on how to ensure your family receives the financial compensation they deserve.
Okay, you do not charge for consultations. How can I afford to hire you as an attorney?
Contact the drunk driving accident injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, we accept every personal injury case through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement postpones all your legal fees until our lawyers have successfully resolved your compensation case by negotiating an out of court settlement on your behalf or by winning your case at trial. Our law office has successfully prosecuted drunk driver injury compensation cases and lawsuits.
Call our wrongful death and personal injury law offices today at (888) 424-5757 to speak with us concerning your legal options in pursuing the compensation your family deserves. We offer a “No Win/No Fee” Guarantee meaning if we are unable to secure monetary recovery to pay for your damages, you owe us nothing. All information you share with our law offices remains confidential.