Car accidents can have devastating consequences. Sadly, drunk driving is a significant influencing factor in fatal car accidents. The CDC estimates that 29 Americans die every day in vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
If you were in an accident with a drunk driver and sustained injuries or lost a loved one, you have legal options to consider. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., a Chicago car accident lawyer can help.
Your emotions will probably run high after an accident where you suspect the other driver was impaired. However, there are a few things you should take care of to keep yourself safe and start building a case for your recovery.
Call the police immediately following an accident, especially if you believe alcohol was involved. The responding officer will file an official report which can be instrumental in your insurance claim or lawsuit against the other driver.
If you think the other driver involved in your accident was intoxicated, tell the officer at the scene. The officer will observe the other driver’s behavior and look for signs of impairment, such as:
If the officer reasonably suspects that the other driver is impaired, they may search the driver’s car for open bottles or containers. They may also ask the driver to perform a field sobriety test.
In addition, the officer can ask the other driver to take a preliminary breath test. The driver can refuse, but doing so comes with legal risks. The officer will note any tests they ask the other driver to perform in their accident report.
You risk getting into an accident every time you get on the road, but some roads and intersections in the Chicago area are notorious for being congested and confusing. Dozens of accidents happen on these roads every year, with alcohol playing a part in making them more dangerous, especially near highways and on- and off-ramps.
Use extra caution if you drive on these roads in Chicago and the suburbs:
Illinois is an at-fault state, which means if another driver’s negligence caused your car accident, they must compensate you for your damages. All drivers in Illinois must carry liability insurance to pay for damages if they are at fault in an accident; if your damages exceed the insurance policy’s limit, however, you can file a lawsuit against the driver to recover the compensation you deserve.
Other parties may be partially at fault in a drunk driving accident and could be included in your lawsuit to recover damages. The state of Illinois supports what are known as dram shop claims, which allow someone hurt by an intoxicated person to sue an alcohol vendor (such as a bar or restaurant) for damages if the vendor contributed to the driver’s intoxication by selling them alcohol.
Illinois’s dram shop law is liberal compared to other states, which may be to your advantage — regardless of whether the bar or restaurant knowingly served someone who was already intoxicated, they could be held liable if they sold the person alcohol.
If you are hurt by a drunk driver in a car accident, you have two years to file a lawsuit. You could recover compensation for your injuries associated losses from the other driver’s insurance. But a lawsuit may help you recover more if your damages exceed the insurance policy limit.
If you wish to file a dram shop claim, you only have one year to do so — you could recover up to $95,000 in damages from a successful dram shop claim.
Going through the claims process with the other diver’s insurance can be time-consuming, and you aren’t guaranteed success. The drunk driver’s insurance could deny your claim because the driver was willfully negligent.
After a drunk driving accident, the best way to maximize your chances of recovering the appropriate compensation for your injuries is to act quickly and contact a lawyer who can effectively represent you.
Your lawyer will handle negotiations with the other driver’s insurance and fight for you in court if necessary. No two car accidents are alike, and you shouldn’t go through the claims process on your own.
You never expect to be involved in a drunk driving accident, but if you are, you need a lawyer who knows Illinois car accident law.
When you hire Staver, you get an advocate who cares about your physical and financial recovery. You can expect regular, transparent communication about your case, so you never feel left in the dark.
After a drunk driving accident, you will probably have several questions, such as who will pay for your damages and how long it will take to recover compensation. Here are some good questions to ask a drunk driving accident lawyer.
If you suspect the other driver involved in your accident is under the influence of alcohol, tell the police officer at the scene. If the officer agrees and the other driver shows signs of impairment, the driver could be asked to take a breath test to determine their BAC. If a test is administered, the officer will record the results in their report of the accident.
Yes. Even if the establishment didn’t knowingly serve the intoxicated driver, they could be partially liable for your damages.
If you choose to go to trial, a conviction can be compelling evidence. But this is not a requirement for pursuing the compensation you deserve. The other driver and their insurer will usually try to settle to avoid a trial, meaning you could get compensation faster.
However, they could try to lowball you to resolve quickly. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive appropriate compensation no matter what legal avenue you choose.
Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., knows how to get the most compensation after the severe and often devastating injuries associated with a drunk driving car accident. Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan.
Contact us today to learn how Staver can help. Call 312-236-2900 for a free, initial consultation. No-Win, No-Fee.
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