Chicago Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Drunk driving is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in the US, with drunk drivers killing 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 are aware of the legal consequences of drunk driving, yet roughly 30 million people nationwide admit to driving after consuming alcohol.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, there have been more than 26,000 DUI arrests in Illinois alone during 2018.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC
You might be entitled to financial compensation if you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in a Chicago car accident with a drunk driver.
The Chicago drunk driving accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can offer you legal representation and are committed to bringing the responsible parties to justice.
Contact our car accident lawyers 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.
We offer a free consultation via phone, videoconferencing, or at your home.
Drunk Driving Statistics of DUI Auto Accidents In Chicago And Across Illinois
- Illinois has a "zero tolerance" policy for drunk drivers, whereby drunk drivers with an intoxicated driving conviction lose 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.
- Within the City of Chicago, IL, borders, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reports 250 injuries and six traffic deaths related to motor vehicle crashes in 2018.
Civil Lawsuits for Personal Injuries and Wrongful Death-Related To Alcohol-Related Crashes
While the state may take criminal action against the reckless behavior of a drunk driver, the criminal court will not take any action to compensate injured victims. The penalty is severe - under state drunk driving laws, defendants of drunk driving crashes lose their driving privileges and can face additional criminal charges.
In recovering compensation for medical bills and other damages regarding severe injuries, drunk driving victims must initiate a civil preventable death or drunk driving accident claim against the drunk driver.
The customary damages, economic and non-economic damages, are intended to reimburse the victim's damages and losses.
For victims involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by impaired drivers, drunk driving accident lawyers will either settle with the defendant or take the drunk driving case to trial to pursue financial recovery.
Drunk driving lawsuits may qualify for the special circumstances needed to award punitive damages, whereas car accident lawsuits only award compensatory damages to victims due to the negligence of accident drivers.
Legal Definition of Driving Under The Influence In Illinois
In Illinois, the legal limit for blood alcohol levels while driving is 0.08%.
For women, this level can be reached with three drinks on average. The average man would take four drinks to raise blood alcohol to this level.
A driver need not be legally drunk to be impaired by alcohol. Even for those with lower blood alcohol measures, alcohol can still be a factor in the crash, and evidence of alcohol consumption could still come into play in a drunk driving court case.
Damages Available to People Seriously Injured In Chicago DUI Auto Accidents
Chicago drunk driving injuries can lead to several physical and economic damages. The State of Illinois estimates the medical costs to treat injuries sustained in an impaired driving crash at over $100,000 per incident.
In addition to the medical costs to treat injuries, many types of damages are available by pursuing a personal injury claim.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our Chicago car accident attorneys frequently seek the following types of compensatory damages
- Lost wages for time missed from work, both in the past and future. Many drunk driving accident victims cannot return to work after the accident, especially if they worked a physical job and sustained a traumatic brain injury.
- Accident victims can be compensated for their injuries, including pain and suffering, medical expenses (for past and future medical treatment), medical bills, and property damage.
- Spouses who have experienced loss in a drunk driving accident can receive damages for loss of consortium.
- The family could obtain wrongful death damages if the motorist is killed in an accident.
Potential Defendants in A Chicago Drunk Driving Lawsuit
In many cases, the plaintiff is capped by what they can recover from the driver due to the policy limits on insurance. It is here where civil claims against numerous possible defendants exist in a DUI case to recover full compensation.
Possible DUI Car Crash Defendants
- The driver of the vehicle - The motorist driving under the influence would be liable for the damage they caused in the accident. The motorist could be liable if they hit another road user or if the police hit an injured driver during a chase (assuming that the police acted reasonably during the chase)
- 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. It would not apply if the driver took the company car for personal business.
- The police department - In some cases, including the one described below, the police could pursue a drunk driver when the DUI driver endangers lives. Then, the police officers would be legally liable for the injuries in the DUI accident for not conducting a thorough investigation.
- The establishment where the drunk motorist was served - In Illinois, as in many states, there is something called "dram shop laws." The dram shop laws hold a bar or tavern responsible for injuries caused by the drunk driver.
In Illinois, the law does not require the establishment to knowingly serve a visibly intoxicated person. The establishment is liable for damage caused by its patrons who consume alcohol. These laws only apply to a commercial establishment.
Contact a drunk driving accident lawyer from our law firm to assist you with legal counsel regarding your DUI accident claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
Successfully Resolving a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against an Intoxicated Driver
Generally, DUI cases will be easier to prove than regular car accident cases. 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.
Usually, one of the main areas of inquiry in a car accident lawsuit is whether the driver failed to uphold the standard of care expected of a driver on the road. It means they acted in a way that a reasonable driver would not, and driving while under the influence is something that would be considered unreasonable.
You must demonstrate in court that the driver was under the influence to prove a DUI lawsuit. The maximum blood alcohol content that is allowable in Illinois is a level of 0.08%.
Blood alcohol concentration amounts under this can still be grounds for a DUI accident case. Many drunk drivers will have a couple of drinks, but their blood alcohol content will not be above the legal limit; however, they can still be liable, although it would be more difficult to prove.
Settling Out of Court
Based on the statistics, your DUI accident lawyer will likely settle your drunk driving lawsuit case out of court. An overwhelming majority of drunk driving accident cases are settled out of court. In most cases, the defendant's conduct is so reprehensible that they will not want to end up anywhere close to a jury.
Juries are more sympathetic to plaintiffs injured in drunk driving accidents, and defendants know that. Therefore, a settlement offer is likely, before the case is set to go to trial.
The insurance company mostly wants no part of a DUI trial as a jury can send a strong message with a high punitive damages award. In many cases, insurance companies will settle a DUI case filed for the policy limit, leaving the plaintiff to look for other damages to fully compensate for their injuries.
Chicago, Illinois Drunk Driving Accident FAQs
Below are frequent questions raised by our clients related to alcohol-related crashes. If you have more questions, we invite you to contact our office and discuss your case with a Chicago drunk driving accident lawyer in a free consultation.
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 judge might sentence repeat offenders to time in jail or prison, primarily if the accident resulted in serious injury or preventable death.
Inappropriate drunk driving behavior leading to a car crash places others at risk, including the vehicle's passengers and other road users.
What Time Do Most Drunk Driving Accidents Occur?
Statistics maintained by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that nearly one in three fatal car accidents involving drunk drivers occurs on weekends.
Drunk driver fatalities are 400% more likely to occur during nighttime hours. The highest incident rate of drunk driving 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 drunk driving. Likely, the insurance company will pay for all property damage, injuries, medical expenses, and preventable death a drunk driver inflicted on others to ensure they are compensated for their losses.
However, the insurance could refuse to cover any personal injury and repair claims of the drunk driver, citing that they violated policy rules by driving while intoxicated.
How Long Do You Have to File A Personal Injury Lawsuit Against An Intoxicated Driver?
In Illinois, you have two years to file a lawsuit against an intoxicated driver to recover compensation for personal injuries or preventable death. If you bring a claim under the Illinois Dram Shop Law or Liquor Control Act, you have one year to file a lawsuit.
Failure to file a claim within the statute of limitation will prohibit victims from filing any further claims later.
How Can DUI Lawyers Help with Filing A Chicago Drunk Driving Lawsuit?
While there is no legal requirement to have an attorney represent you, hiring a Chicago car accident 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.
- If you have been injured in a Chicago drunk driving accident or lost a loved one, your injuries may take many months to heal and rehabilitate. Drunk driving claims, in whichever form, may also be hard to value, given the extent of the injuries and lost wages, and a lawyer can assist with the valuation.
- A personal injury case is filed for compensation of future medical expenses and other damages. A drunk driving accident lawyer can handle the legal process to recover full and fair compensation on your behalf.
- A drunk driving accident lawyer can negotiate your claim with the 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.
Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Can Help You Hold a Drunk Driver Liable
The drunk driving accident lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC are here to help you with your drunk driving accident case if you or a family member suffered injuries in a Chicago drunk driving accident.
Contact us 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. A DUI accident attorney can help you get the maximum compensation allowable under Illinois law.
Contingency Fee Agreement
Our drunk driving accident lawyers work on contingency, meaning that we are not paid unless you successfully receive compensation. If we do not win, you owe us nothing.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our drunk driving accident lawyers remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Our attorneys represent clients throughout the United States, Illinois, and the Chicago area, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Chicago, Cicero, Elgin, Naperville, and Schaumburg.