Chicago Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Legal Support After a Tragic Accident
Drunk drivers cause thousands of deaths and even more serious injuries every year. If you were hit by a drunk driver in Chicago, please know that you are not alone in your struggle. Indeed, McHargue & Jones, LLC and our Chicago drunk driving accident lawyers are here to provide comprehensive and compassionate legal support to help you find a more comfortable tomorrow through a successful personal injury claim.
Since we opened our doors in 2000, we have helped countless people in our community pursue compensation for severe injuries in all types of car accidents, including those caused by drunk drivers. We can handle all stages of a typical injury claim, from investigating evidence and calculating damages to filing the claim and fighting insurance companies head-to-head.
How Many Accidents Are Caused By Drunk Driving?
While drunk driving fatalities have been on the decline over the last several years, they are sadly still very common. According to a 2019 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 28 individuals lose their lives every day in drunk driving accidents. Over 10,000 people were killed in 2019 alone.
In 2018, Illinois alone had over 300 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, accounting for 30% of their total driving fatalities that year. Of these impaired drivers who caused fatal crashes, many were repeat offenders (responsibility.org). In the same year Illinois had over 2,800 arrests made for drivers who were operating under the influence.
Are Drunk Drivers Always at Fault?
Intoxicated driving is extremely dangerous. Everyone knows instinctually not to do it, yet drunk driving accidents happen all the time. Because it can be assumed that drunk driving is so unsafe, can you also assume that drunk drivers will always be found at fault for a crash? Not necessarily.
The fact that a driver was drunk when they were in a crash does not automatically put the liability on them. Proving liability still requires using evidence and convincing arguments to show who caused the drunk driving accident and how.
Evidence of liability to use in a drunk driving accident claim could include:
- Police records: A drunk driving accident is unique in that it involves a criminal element and should warrant heavy involvement from local law enforcement officials. The reports from police officers who responded to the scene of your crash should have created a report that outlines what they saw and know.
- BAC test results: The intoxicated driver should have taken blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests after being arrested. The test result can be used to show objective intoxication. For example, someone with a BAC level of 0.08 or more is legally intoxicated and more than likely had difficulty controlling their vehicle.
- Criminal evidence: Any evidence used by the prosecution in the criminal case against the drunk driver can also be used in your civil claim for compensation. Our drunk driving accident attorneys in Chicago are familiar with local police departments, precincts, and detectives, so we know how to get copies of evidence that might be useful for your claim.
- Convictions: A criminal conviction of the drunk driver can also be convincing to insurance adjusters or civil judges and juries. If a criminal judge found that there was enough evidence to convict a driver of a DWI or DUI, then it is reasonable to assume that others should accept that the driver was indeed drunk and, therefore, likely contributed significantly to their crash.
Drunk Driving Lawsuit Settlements
Pain & Suffering Damages When Hit by a Drunk Driver
When filing an insurance claim against a drunk driver, a settlement offer is preferred in many cases. Settlements allow for a comparatively quick resolution to the situation without the need of taking the sensitive matter to court. However, you should never sign a settlement offer without first allowing your drunk driving accident lawyer in Chicago to review it.
Settlements from insurance companies are often not representative of all the damages owed to the injured claimant. Typically, if a drunk driver’s insurance company offers to pay for the damages with a settlement, noneconomic damages will be completely ignored in that settlement offer.
Noneconomic damages include the following and more:
- Lessened enjoyment of life
- Shortened life expectancy
The first settlement from a drunk driver’s insurance company is practically guaranteed to not include enough money to cover noneconomic damages. It would actually be a surprise if the settlement offer even covered economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, and vehicular repairs. Insurers are often tempted to offer lowball amounts in hopes of getting injured claimants to accept them blindly. But with us by your side, you do not need to worry about being coerced or manipulated by an insurance company.
How Often Are Punitive Damages Awarded?
Punitive damages are ultimately intended to punish the wrongdoer for particularly gross negligence that resulted in injuries to another party. While punitive damages are never guaranteed, victims of drunk driving accidents tend to be more likely to receive punitive damages because of the nature of their accident. In many cases, gross negligence or disregard for the safety of others comes into play when an intoxicated driver makes the decision to get behind the wheel.
Make Your Choice Easy – Choose McHargue & Jones, LLC
For the assistance and guidance of Chicago’s trusted drunk driving accident attorneys, call (312) 739-0000 right away. Our entire team is standing by to make certain your case is given the attention and respect it deserves so that you can have a fair chance at getting the compensation you need.
Have you been the victim of a drunk driving accident in Chicago? We always offer free consultations to inquiring callers. Schedule yours as soon as you can.
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