Drunk Driving Accidents & Victims’ Rights
Free Consult with a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer: (312) 372-9600
Drunk driving has long been one of the leading causes of preventable car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving causes thousands of injuries and deaths each year, including nearly 30 deaths every day. In fact, the chance of being involved in an alcohol-related collision is roughly one in three over the course of a person’s life.
Because the risks of drunk driving are well known, and because driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, drivers who cause accidents while impaired by alcohol can be held fully accountable for the harm they cause. Aside from criminal repercussions, drivers can be held liable in civil court by the victims they injure in drunk driving accidents. These civil personal injury cases are handled independently from criminal proceedings, and can allow victims and families to seek a financial recovery of their damages.
Morici, Figlioli & Associates has helped thousands of car accident victims throughout Chicago and the state of Illinois since 1998, including many who were harmed by impaired drivers. Our firm understands the devastation drunk driving accidents can cause, and we are passionate about protecting the rights of victims when they need it most.
Holding Drunk Drivers Liable
All motorists accept certain responsibilities when they get behind the wheel, including an obligation to take reasonable measures that keep others free from preventable harm. Drunk driving is not a reasonable measure, and is a clear breach of a driver’s legal duty. As such, victims have the right to pursue personal injury cases against drunk drivers who cause their accidents and injuries.
By highlighting the negligence of drunk drivers and demonstrating their failures to drive safely, our legal team works to establish fault and liability. When successful, personal injury claims can ensure that drunk drivers are held liable for a range of economic and noneconomic damages suffered by victims. These damages may include:
- Medical bills and future medical expenses
- Lost work wages and lost future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Disability or impairment
In addition to compensation for injured victims, families may also be entitled to compensation. This is often the case in accidents that result in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. Because serious injuries and the loss of a loved one have a tremendous impact on families, they may also be entitled to compensation for their damages, including their emotional injuries, loss of companionship and support, and more.
Dram Shop & Social Host Liability
Most people are aware that drunk drivers can be held liable for the damages they cause, but few are aware that other parties may also be held liable when they play a role in contributing to a drunk driving accident. Under Illinois dram shop liability laws, DUI victims can seek damages against alcohol vendors, including drinking establishments and bars. Unlike most states that require victims to prove that a drinking establishment over served a patron who was clearly and visibly intoxicated, Illinois does not have stipulations for how an alcohol provider serves its customers. It is enough that the drinking establishment served the alcohol which caused intoxication and subsequently the accident and injuries.
In addition to dram shop liability, many states allow DUI victims to seek damages from social hosts who provide alcohol at private gatherings to guests who later cause drunk driving accidents. Unfortunately, Illinois does not permit claims for social host liability in most cases. However, there is limited social host liability if the intoxicated person served by a private host was a minor under the age of 21.
Because our legal team explores all avenues for compensation, we carefully evaluate cases to determine if dram shop liability applies. Should it be possible for victims to pursue compensation from an alcohol vendor, we work to establish how a driver was served alcohol, became intoxicated as a result, and caused injuries. Our goal in every case is to maximize compensation for our clients, and dram shop liability can often prove essential in achieving this objective.
Learn More About Your Rights During a Case Evaluation
Drunk driving is an unlawful, negligent, and overwhelmingly reckless act, and it should never be tolerated. If you or someone you love has been harmed in a motor vehicle collision involving a drunk driver, or a driver who was under the influence of drugs, our Chicago car accident attorneys at Morici, Figlioli & Associates are available to help you learn more about your right to financial compensation and what we can do to help.
For a FREE consultation, call (312) 372-9600.