Chicago Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
A collision with a driver who was impaired by alcohol is one of the most heartbreaking ways a person can be injured in an accident. If you’ve been hurt in a collision with an intoxicated driver, you may be feeling overwhelmed since there are criminal processes involved as well as the potential for a civil case. If this is the case, an experienced Chicago DUI accident attorney can help you.
Our attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help you pursue compensation for your damages in order to ease the financial burden the accident has caused. Call a Chicago car accident lawyer at (312) 236-2900 to receive a free and confidential consultation.
The Reality of Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving accidents are preventable. Yet, nationally, a person is killed about once per hour in a crash with an impaired driver, and someone is injured about once every two minutes. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that three out of 10 Americans — that’s nearly 100 million people — will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.
Auto accidents involving intoxicated drivers are often far more serious than accidents involving non-impaired drivers. Intoxicated drivers may be experiencing blurred vision and slowed reaction time. In contrast, a sober driver who is negligent still may be able to react in a collision in a way that could lessen the impact.
An intoxicated driver is less likely to be able to try to swerve out of the way or step on the brakes simply because his or her thought processes and ability to react are not working at full capacity.
Illinois Drunk Driving Laws
The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Illinois is .08 percent. If a driver has a BAC of .08 or higher, they are considered too impaired to drive under state law and can be charged with a crime. If the driver who caused your accident had a BAC of .08 or higher, that can be considered evidence that they were negligent by default and may be held responsible for injuries and damages resulting from the crash. If the driver was under age 21, any amount of alcohol in their system is illegal and can result in a determination of negligence.
Contrary to popular belief, if the driver’s BAC was below .08, they may still be found negligent. Medical research indicates that drivers can be impaired at a lower BAC. In the instance of a lower BAC, you would have to present evidence of impairment in addition to the BAC result that shows that the driver was negligent.
Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents
If you’ve been rear-ended by a drunk driver or involved in any other type of crash that was caused by their negligence, you may be asking yourself, “I was hit by a drunk driver. Can I sue?” The truth is, yes, you have the right to hold the intoxicated driver liable for your damages.
In the event they have insurance, you can make a claim against their policy and file a lawsuit if you cannot reach a settlement. It is important to keep in mind that if the impaired driver has repeat DUIs, they may not have insurance, or may not have enough insurance to cover the serious injuries caused by the accident. In fact, they may not even have a valid driver’s license.
If you’re in this difficult situation, understand that there may be other opportunities for recovery. Part of the Illinois Liquor Control Act known as the Dram Shop Act (235 ILCS 5/6-21) allows for people injured by an intoxicated driver to make claims against the licensed establishment that sold alcohol to the at-fault driver.
The statute sets a cap on the amount of money you can recover. That amount changes from year to year and is linked to the consumer price index, a measure of inflation. Since drunk driving accidents can be complex and an insurance company may convince you to accept a low ball offer, you should seek legal representation from a Chicago DUI accident attorney.
What to Do After a DUI Accident
After a DUI accident, you will likely be scared and unsure of what to do in order to protect yourself. Here are some steps you should follow after being injured by a drunk driver:
- Call the police: The police will conduct some tests on the drunk driver and ask you some questions. They will also file a police report that can benefit you if you choose to file a claim.
- Seek medical attention: Visit a doctor to receive treatment for your injuries right away. Delays in seeking medical attention may hurt your claim.
- Document the scene: Use your camera to take pictures of the accident scene, all vehicles involved, and any injuries you’ve sustained.
- Contact a Chicago DUI accident lawyer: A lawyer can help you file a claim and ensure you don’t get taken advantage of by the liable party’s insurance company. With their help, you can collect the fair and full compensation you may be entitled to.
Contact a Chicago DUI Accident Attorney
An experienced DUI accident attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can discuss with you whether you might be able to make a claim against a bar, restaurant, or store that sold alcohol to the impaired driver, and what the current caps are for recovery. If you were injured by a drunk driver, contact us at (312) 236-2900 to learn more in a free, no-obligation consultation.