In Illinois, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Despite the efforts of the government and countless non-profit organizations to educate drivers about the risks of impaired driving, Chicago drunk driving accidents are still commonplace. Illinois had 1,217 fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2021. Of those, 22.2 percent involved alcohol.
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries from those at fault for the crash. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we are dedicated to helping our clients hold intoxicated drivers and others responsible for their negligence.
What Constitutes Drunk Driving?
Driving under the influence (DUI), or drunk driving, refers to driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs, including those prescribed for medical reasons. Under Illinois law, a driver aged 21 and over is considered legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol content (BAC) measures .08 percent or higher. The BAC legal limit is .04 percent for commercial drivers.
Driving with a BAC that exceeds .08 is illegal. However, a driver can still be convicted of a DUI even if their BAC measures are below the legal limit. Males between the ages of 25 and 34 had the highest DUI arrest rate in 2021, with about 7 arrests per 1,000 licensed drivers in Illinois.
Even a seemingly small amount of alcohol can impair driving ability, jeopardizing the safety of others who share the road. In 2021, 544 of the drivers killed in fatal crashes had their BAC measured. Of those, 42.3 percent had a BAC of 0.01 or greater.
As the effects of alcohol are manifold, drunk driving can still be a factor in a collision even when a driver’s BAC is low. What makes drunk driving so dangerous is that it impairs a driver’s coordination, reaction time, judgment, vision, and concentration. Drivers are unable to focus on their surroundings, monitor their speed, and watch out for road hazards.
By the time a driver’s BAC hits .06 percent, they are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as a non-drinking driver. When a person’s BAC reaches .08 percent, they are 11 times more likely to be killed in a single-vehicle crash than a non-drinking driver.
Chicago has a zero-tolerance approach toward drunk drivers under the age of 21. Parents can be liable for a drunk driving accident if they permit their child to get behind the wheel after drinking at home. In 2021, 207 Illinois drivers under age 21 lost their driving privileges due to violations related to the zero-tolerance law.
Drunk Driving Accident Injuries
Most drivers recognize the importance of paying attention to other motorists and pedestrians who share the road. Unfortunately, defensive driving is often not enough to prevent a drunk driving accident. Despite our best efforts to make safe and responsible choices, we have no control over the negligent actions of other drivers.
Chicago drunk driving accidents can result in painful injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Medical bills can quickly pile up as you struggle to return to normal life after a devastating crash. Injuries often affect multiple areas of the body. For example, a crash victim may suffer whiplash, bruises, and a fractured arm in a single collision.
While types of injuries can vary widely, Chicago drunk driving accident victims may sustain the following:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
Recovering Compensation After a Chicago Drunk Driving Accident
Any car accident can cause serious injuries. While most crashes can be avoided, drunk driving accidents are especially preventable. Drivers always have options when getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. They could call a friend, hail a cab, take public transportation, or get a Lyft or Uber. Driving while impaired is a conscious decision that puts everyone else’s lives on the road at risk.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a Chicago drunk driving accident, you may be able to bring a Chicago drunk driving lawsuit. If you are successful in bringing a claim against a drunk driver, you can recover compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you suffered because of the accident, including:
- Medical bills you have already paid
- Future medical expenses related to your injuries
- Lost income
- Decreased earning capacity because of your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a normal life
You may believe you do not need a Chicago car accident lawyer. If a drunk driver crashed into you, the police would handle everything, right? Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents can quickly get complicated.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate all the unforeseen legal issues that may crop up. For example, the drunk driver may deny being intoxicated or try to shift the blame for the collision onto you.
At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we do not think it is fair that you pay the price for someone else’s reckless decision to drive drunk. Our dedicated team of car accident lawyers will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.
Who is Liable in a Chicago Drunk Driving Accident?
When determining who is liable for a drunk driving accident, the impaired driver is the obvious answer. However, Illinois law is unique in that it allows accident victims to pursue claims against other parties in certain situations.
Under the Illinois Liquor Control Act, also known as the dram shop law, a bar or restaurant that served a drunk driver may be liable for your damages. Unlike many other states, Illinois does not require you to prove that the bar or restaurant overserved the drunk driver or knew they were intoxicated; it is enough to show that the establishment provided the drunk driver with alcohol.
While state law allows you to hold any licensed alcohol vendor liable in a drunk driving accident, it does not typically permit you to hold social hosts liable for their guest’s actions. So, for example, if Jon and Linda hosted a neighborhood party and overserved one of their guests who caused an accident on the way home, you could sue the drunk driver, but not Jon and Linda.
Holidays Present an Increased Danger for Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents
While encountering a drunk driver is a risk on Chicago roads, certain times are more dangerous than others. The rate of intoxication among drivers involved in fatal accidents is more than three times higher at night compared to the day.
In 2021, nearly 50 percent of all fatal drunk driving accidents in Illinois occurred during the eight-hour window of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Similarly, 48 percent of all impaired driving accidents happened on Saturdays and Sundays.
Holidays and long weekends present the greatest risks of a drunk driving accident. For example, in 2018, 50 percent of all traffic-related fatalities over the Fourth of July were due to drunk driving. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the most dangerous holidays for drunk driving are:
- Thanksgiving weekend
- Labor Day weekend
- Christmas break
- Memorial Day
- New Year’s Eve
- Fourth of July
During holidays and long weekends, Chicago law enforcement may set up checkpoints to crack down on intoxicated drivers and prevent drunk driving accidents. If a vehicle is stopped and the driver is found to be drunk, they can face serious penalties.
Despite various efforts to prevent DUIs, drunk driving accidents still occur. Illinois launched a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign over Labor Day weekend in 2020. A survey found that only 52.7 percent of people were aware of the campaign.
Time Limit for Filing a Chicago Drunk Driving Accident Claim
Under Illinois law, you only have two years after a drunk driving accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against an intoxicated driver. Missing this deadline, known as the statute of limitations in legal terms, can mean you give up your right to recover compensation for your injuries.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Chicago Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was injured in a Chicago drunk driving accident, contact the dedicated personal injury lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg for immediate assistance. Our team of attorneys is ready to meet with you to discuss your case and help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve after suffering unnecessary injuries in a drunk driving accident. We have over 30 years of experience working with accident victims from all backgrounds, helping them overcome the challenges they face when attempting to hold drunk drivers accountable for their reckless actions.
As part of the Briskman Guarantee, we will provide you with a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation where you will meet with a lawyer who can answer your questions and explain the recovery process. And because we accept cases on a contingency basis, you will never be responsible for any legal fees unless we win your case. To learn more, give us a call at 877-595-4878, or contact us through our online form. We proudly serve clients in Chicago, Joliet, Waukegan, and throughout Cook County, Lake County, and Will County.