Drunk driving accidents claim more than 10,000 lives per year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2017, there were 349 alcohol-related car accident fatalities in Illinois alone.
Even when drunk driving crashes are not fatal, they can cause serious injuries which, in addition to other damages, may be compensable by via a car accident claim. The Illinois drunk driving accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC have extensive experience handling personal injury claims and are dedicated to recovering maximum compensation for every client.
The Effects of Alcohol on Driving Ability
Alcohol impairs many functions that are critical to safe driving. A person does not need to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit to show signs of impairment. Some common effects of alcohol on driving ability include:
- Altered mood
- Decreased alertness
- Decreased visual function
- Delayed reaction/response time
- Difficulty concentrating
- Diminished ability to process information
- Impaired perception
- Loss of judgment and reasoning ability
- Loss of muscle control
- Lowered inhibition
- Poor muscle coordination
- Reduced coordination
- Short-term memory loss
- Slurred speech
Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents
Those involved in a car wreck may suffer a variety of injuries depending on the circumstances such as where the vehicle was struck, whether they were wearing a seatbelt, and how fast the other driver was going. Some of the most common injuries our Belleville car accident lawyers have seen include:
- Arm and leg injuries
- Chest injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Injuries to internal organs
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim is often filed when someone is fatally injured in a drunk driving wreck caused by the careless or reckless actions of another person. A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury lawsuit, but is brought on the deceased person’s behalf. It allows the family of the deceased to recover compensation for their losses resulting from the death of their loved one. In Illinois, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person’s family, including their:
- Parent of a deceased minor child; or
- Adult child of the deceased.
Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of the accident, according to the state statute of limitations. Damages are available for the decedent’s surviving spouse or next of kin and may include compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages and future earnings, grief and sorrow, and mental suffering. Laws on wrongful death vary by state therefore it is advisable to seek the counsel of an attorney in your local area.
Compensation for Injuries in Illinois
In Illinois, drivers with a BAC above .08 percent are considered alcohol-impaired. Illinois also enforces a Zero Tolerance Law, which prohibits underage drinking (of any amount) and driving.
Those who are injured due to the negligence of another may bring a personal injury claim against the driver who caused the accident. To prevail, a claimant must prove that the other driver was negligent – which can be established by showing that the driver was alcohol-impaired – and that the claimant was injured as a result.
Illinois follows the comparative negligence rule, meaning that claimants may only recover compensation for their injuries if they were less than 51 percent at fault for the accident. Those who are less than 51 percent at fault, and therefore eligible for compensation, may recover damages diminished in proportion their percentage of fault, as determined by the court.
Illinois Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Help Victims of Drunk Driving Wrecks Recover Compensation for Their Injuries
If you were injured or you lost a loved one in a drunk driving wreck, contact an Illinois drunk driving accident lawyer at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. Our skilled and experienced attorneys will fight to recover the compensation to which you are entitled. From our office in Swansea, Illinois, we proudly serve clients in Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and throughout the state. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 618-277-3644.