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Personal Injury Claims for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents

 Posted on May 26, 2022 in Car Accident

IL injury lawyerAccidents caused by drunk drivers injure and kill thousands of people every year. In many cases, the injuries from these accidents take months or even years to recover from, and some people will never fully recover. Under Illinois law, when you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may have a right to be compensated for your injuries, economic losses, and pain and suffering.

Blood Alcohol Level and Negligence

Anyone found to have a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher is legally intoxicated in Illinois. This means that a driver cannot defend against claims for damages by claiming he or she was not impaired. But, even if someone has a BAC of less than .08 they may still have been driving impaired and legally responsible for the accident.

Personal injury law requires that a person making a claim for damages be able to prove four things:

  1. The defendant (the one who caused the accident) owed a duty to the plaintiff (the one bringing the claim)
  2. That duty was breached
  3. The breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff
  4. The plaintiff suffered damages

All drivers owe other drivers a duty of reasonable care. A BAC of .08 is generally considered to be proof of a breach of duty. But, if you can show the driver was impaired, then even with a BAC of less than .08, you can show the driver breached their duty.

The Role of a Criminal Case in Recovering Damages

Usually, the only way the driver’s BAC is known is because law enforcement performed either a breathalyzer test or had a blood test done at a hospital. If the BAC is .08 or higher, there is likely to be a criminal case based on charges of driving under the influence (DUI). The records of a criminal case are usually public.

In some cases, it makes sense to allow for the criminal proceedings to play out before fully pursuing a personal injury claim. A criminal conviction or guilty plea can make it much easier to get an insurance company or a jury to authorize an appropriate amount of compensation. Other times, the evidence from the arrest is so overwhelming that waiting is not necessary.

In cases where the BAC is less than 0.08 but where a criminal case is proceeding, it might make sense to see if the driver is convicted. This will help bolster the case that the driver was negligent and that damages should be paid.

Work With a Rolling Meadows Drunk Driving Accident Injury Lawyer

Getting the compensation to which you are legally entitled is challenging. If you have been hurt in a car accident, consult with an experienced Arlington Heights personal injury lawyer at Newland & Newland, LLP. Call 847-797-8000 right away to discuss your rights and possible claims in a free consultation today.



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