Both public and private organizations in Illinois have gone to great lengths in recent years to reduce drinking and driving through extensive advertising campaigns and harsher enforcement of existing laws. While these measures have had some success in reducing DUIs, every day about 28 people are killed in drunk-driving crashes. Over ten-thousand people are killed each year and over 300,000 are injured, because of drivers who make the dangerous choice to drive while impaired.
Drunk driving car accidents in Decatur can cause devastating losses for those injured by careless drivers. Those injured in these accidents should pursue insurance claims, and where necessary, civil litigation to recover for the harm caused by the impaired driver. An experienced Decatur injury attorney can help guide an injured person through the process of pursuing a recovery for their damages, and help overcome the many challenges and hurdles created by insurance companies and their defense lawyers who seek to minimize the compensation for injured people. Getting help from a compassionate and qualified attorney is a crucial step to protecting your interests.
Does a DUI Charge Allow for A Financial Recovery?
Every driver has an implicit responsibility, or a duty of care, to follow all applicable laws and act reasonably while driving in order to minimize the risk of causing harm to others around them. Driving while impaired by any legal or illegal substance is a clear violation of this duty of care, and anyone who directly causes an accident by breaching their duty of care may be held financially accountable for the consequences of their actions.
Most automobile accident claims are resolved through negotiations with insurance companies, either the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or perhaps the injured person’s own insurance company through an uninsured or underinsured claim. The intoxication of an at-fault driver is an aggravating factor that could potentially inflame jurors and increase the value of a claim. An experienced injury lawyer can argue for an increase in your recovery based on the bad conduct of the intoxicated party.
Your Decatur injury lawyer can also work with the Macon County State’s Attorney to assert your rights as a victim of a crime and encourage the Assistant State’s Attorney prosecuting the drunk driver to seek a conviction on the DUI and explain that the drunk driver’s conduct caused significant harm to you.
In certain cases, a Decatur car accident attorney may seek punitive damages due to extremely reckless conduct of an intoxicated driver. While these cases are somewhat rare, depending on the circumstances of your case and the financial resources of the at-fault party, you may wish to discuss a claim for punitive damages with your lawyer.
Most of the time, recovery for drunk driving vehicle collisions in Decatur depends on the severity of harm experienced by the plaintiff, the length of time their damages will continue to affect them, and the resources available to compensate them for their injury, typically the amount of insurance coverage available. For example, a drunk driving crash that results in minor injuries would not warrant as much compensation as a wreck resulting in catastrophic harm in which neither party was drunk. The important thing is the extent of damage done, not the way in which that damage occurred.
Common Legal Obstacles in Decatur Drunk Driver Cases
Even if a claimant can prove that a drunk driver was primarily responsible for their injuries, they still may miss out on compensation if the court reviewing their case assigns them a portion of liability as well. Under 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/2-1116, a personal injury plaintiff’s recovery may be reduced by any comparative fault the injured party had in the collision. For instance, a person found 20 percent at fault compared to a drunk driver’s 80 percent would only be able to recover for 80 percent of their total losses.
Additionally, the two-year statutory filing deadline set by 735 ILCS §5/13-202 applies to most personal injury claims also applies to impaired driving car accidents in Decatur. In some cases, a longer or shorter of limitations may apply, depending on the circumstances. We recommend you talk to an experienced Decatur injury lawyer to determine what deadlines may apply to your case. Support from an auto accident lawyer can be essential to navigating through these possible roadblocks and effectively pursuing fair recovery.
Seek Help from a Decatur Attorney Following a Drunk Driving Car Accident
Drunk drivers put everyone around them in harm’s way. Fortunately, you have legal options at your disposal for holding a drunk driver accountable for the injuries and subsequent losses they caused you.
Having a compassionate and experienced legal professional guide you through the process can make all the difference in the results you obtain in your claim. An experienced lawyer can help maximize your compensation, minimize your medical bills and liens, and make the process much easier for you and your family, so you can focus on your recovery. Schedule your free initial consultation today.