Drunk Driving Accidents in Chicago Illinois
Drunk driving is the leading cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Chicago and across the state. Many others suffer severe injuries in these crashes, which are completely avoidable and cause unnecessary and costly losses and devastation.
Chicago has many entertainment districts where the risk of drunk driving accidents might increase, including:
- Wicker Park
- Logan Square
- Old Town
- West Loop
- Lincoln Park
While many people head to these areas for a night on the town and might drive home, remember that drunk drivers can be on the road anywhere in Chicagoland. With so many alternative transportation options in the city, we should question why anyone might ever decide to drive while impaired. The reasons why don’t matter, though. The risks are too great, and drunk drivers should be fully liable for any harm they cause in a car accident. This is where our experienced Chicago drunk driving accident lawyers come in.
Our Chicago Drunk Driving Accident Firm
At Abels & Annes, P.C., our Chicago car accident lawyers represent accident victims who suffered injuries due to drunk drivers. We obtained $200,000 for a client who suffered two herniated discs because of a drunk driver, and another policy limits settlement for a pedestrian struck by a drunk driver who failed to yield.
Our legal team is ready to fight for you, so please reach out to our office directly today.
Drunk drivers in Chicago
You might wonder who most drunk drivers are. According to the Illinois Secretary of State Office, 74 percent of drunk driving arrests are men. Most often, these arrests and incidents occur over the weekend between 11 p.m and 4 a.m. The average blood alcohol content (BAC) among these accidents is .16 percent, which is twice the legal limit. Those 35 and under make up 52 percent of drunk driving offenders in Chicago. The numbers are even higher when there is a holiday or a holiday weekend.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Here are some drunk driving statistics that help to put the scope of the problem into focus.
- One in every seven DUI fatalities in 2008 was someone under the age of 21 (and thus not even old enough to drink).
- One-third of drivers ages 25 to 34 who were killed in fatal accidents were intoxicated.
- Drunk drivers were responsible for 10,228 fatalities 2010, including 211 children. Of the 211 children, 161 (62%) were in the same vehicle as the drunk driver.
- Of the 568 driver fatalities in Illinois in 2011, 108 had blood alcohol levels of .08 to .20. Further, an additional 52 had blood alcohol levels in excess of .20.
- Somewhere in America, someone dies every 51 minutes as a result of the careless and senseless acts of a drunk driver.
- In 2010, sixteen percent of all drivers in fatal crashes during the week were DUI. This, compared to 31 percent on the weekends.
The Effects Alcohol Has on Your Driving (6 Impacts)
The legal limit for a BAC only refers to what is deemed safe for drivers, but drivers can face impairment with only a 0.02 percent BAC. Alcohol wreaks havoc on the body and mind, especially when driving. Everyone should stay safe by refraining from driving after drinking any amount of alcohol.
While you might make safe and responsible choices, you cannot rely on other drivers to do the same. They might get behind the wheel with the following effects of alcohol.
Alcohol has a significant effect on the brain and its functioning, including judgment. When a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, their judgment is questionable. They might make riskier decisions than usual or misjudge distance, time, or speed.
2. Reaction time
Alcohol increases the time it takes to process the information, which is critical on the road. When there is a delay in processing, a driver’s reaction times are slower. Sometimes drivers do not react at all due to their impairment.
Vision is of the utmost importance when driving. Alcohol often impairs a person’s vision, causing it to blur or even see double. Vision problems might begin with a BAC of 0.02 percent and worsen the more alcohol one consumes.
When on the road, drivers need to concentrate on the task of driving and what is happening around them. Drivers must check their mirrors, watch for road hazards, look for other cars and pay attention to their speed and position. Alcohol heavily impairs a person’s concentration, so they cannot focus on all the tasks of driving.
Traffic control signals and road signs come in various colors, all with different meanings. However, when you consume alcohol, it can become difficult to recognize the different colors of these signs and signals with their meanings. Many drunk drivers might run red lights because they do not process that they have to stop.
Hand-eye coordination is essential for driving and getting around. You can find walking to your vehicle or putting the key in the car difficult when you have a high BAC. If a person cannot make it to their car, they have no business getting behind the wheel. Coordination concerns will extend to the person’s ability to drive, not just walk.
Common Injuries In Chicago Drunk Driving Accidents
When you are driving, paying attention to the driving habits of those around you is essential. However, driving defensively is not enough to prevent a drunk driving accident. When drunk drivers are on the road, they are not in their right mind and can come out of nowhere. No matter how strong your defensive driving is and how quickly you react, the possibilities of an accident are extremely high. Drunk driving accidents often result in victims facing severe injuries. Whether in a rear-end collision, side impact, or another type of collision, you must discuss your options with a Chicago drunk driving accident lawyer.
Spinal cord trauma
Your spinal cord is essential to your mobility and life. When you suffer injuries to the spinal cord, you can end up with a physical impairment such as paralysis. Victims often need power chairs and other medical devices to get around. Home and vehicle modifications are also essential to their lifestyle. These changes are some of the most expensive and burdensome. They are also mentally and emotionally draining.
Internal injuries are severe, as they show no external signs, but they are life-threatening. You must get a complete check-up after a drunk driving accident, as internal injuries are always possible. You can undergo imaging tests to determine the damages and severity of those injuries.
Traumatic brain injury
Another catastrophic injury a person can suffer from a drunk driving accident is a traumatic brain injury. A TBI can result when there is a sudden blow, bump, or jolt to the head, and the brain moves around. Also, penetrating injuries to the skull can cause brain damage and function disruption. The severity of a TBI and symptoms will vary by the patient. Some will require extensive round-the-clock care. One thing is true – your life can forever change after a traumatic brain injury.
The human body has over 200 bones, and any of them can break during a drunk driving accident in Chicago. While one broken bone is bad enough, multiple can result in years of physical therapy, surgery, and long-term treatment. You will need assistance with daily tasks while your bones heal; even then, you can suffer lifelong restrictions.
While you suffer serious injuries, the drunk driver walks away without a scratch. You need a Chicago drunk driving accident lawyer to help you get the justice you deserve after such a traumatic experience.
What is Chicago doing about drunk driving accidents?
The local governments have installed various programs to prevent and curb drunk driving accidents. Harsher penalties and a zero-tolerance approach are some initiatives the city is taking. Even so, drunk driving is prevalent across the city and the state.
Drunk driving laws In Chicago IL
Across the board, driving with a BAC of over 0.08 percent or while impaired is illegal, and anyone under 21 falls under zero tolerance laws discussed later. These laws are not new but have been found to prevent and deter drunk driving accidents.
Ignition interlocking systems
When a drunk driver is convicted, they might have to install an ignition interlock system onto their vehicle. The engine will not turn on if the driver does not pass the test. The system ensures that drivers do not have the option to drive while drunk.
Teens and adults under 25 are at higher risk of being in drunk driving accidents. Implementing instruction programs at schools can help educate the young on the dangers of impaired driving. While these programs provide education, there is little data on whether they prevent drunk driving accidents.
DUI Checkpoints In Chicago
Periodically, law enforcement will set up areas where they can stop vehicles to see if the driver is impaired. These checkpoints are in highly visible areas and are often seen during the weekend and on holidays. Other times they are random. Drunk drivers can be caught during these checkpoints and face the consequences before causing a motor vehicle accident.
Various campaigns throughout the city warn drivers about the danger of drunk drivers and the legal consequences.
Even with safety efforts, drunk driving accidents continue to occur regularly.
What is the Chicago Zero Tolerance Law?
As we mentioned, there is a zero-tolerance law for anyone under 21 who is found to be drunk driving. When a person is drinking underage, they will lose their driving privilege and face other penalties. Parents can also be liable for a drunk driving accident if they allow their children to drink at home and then get behind the wheel.
The Liquor Control Act
No establishment can sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person or a minor in Illinois. If they do, and the person gets into an accident, the liquor store or establishment can be liable. There are many restrictions in these laws, so you need a Chicago drunk driving accident lawyer to ensure you hold all responsible parties accountable.
You can get compensation for your injuries
Drunk driving in Illinois brings with it various penalties. A first drunk driving offense is a Class A misdemeanor with mandatory fines and community service. A conviction will result in a $500 fine and 100 hours of community service. A second offense is a Class A misdemeanor with a five-day mandatory minimum jail sentence and 240 hours of community service. Additionally, Illinois can revoke driving privileges. After a second offense, any other infraction is an aggravated DUI. The driver will face felony charges with mandatory imprisonment, fines, community service, and loss of driving privileges.
Criminal penalties are only the beginning when a driver causes a crash. Drunk driving victims can obtain compensation for their injuries and losses in a civil claim. When a loved one passes away due to a drunk driver, the family can file a wrongful death claim against the relevant parties. The compensation you receive in a drunk driving accident will depend on your injuries and damages. The more severe your losses, the more compensation you should obtain.
Economic damages After a DUI Injury Accident
All losses that have a monetary figure are economic damages. It is economic damage if there is a receipt, such as a medical bill or an out-of-pocket expense. Lost wages and vehicle repairs also fall under this category.
Non-economic damages After a DUI Injury Accident
There are damages you will suffer that do not have a monetary figure, so they are non-economic damages. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of companionship, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages After a Drunk Driving Accident
When there is gross negligence, an award for punitive damages is possible, though these damages are rare. The driver often must have an excessively high BAC for a punitive damage award in a drunk driving accident case. Another instance where the court can award these damages is when the defendant has multiple DUI convictions.
Wrongful death damages
There is no solace when you have a loved one who passed away from a drunk driver. No money will bring them back but filing a wrongful death lawsuit will help hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. A wrongful death claim in Chicago will allow you to file economic and non-economic damages from your loss. Reach out to Chicago wrongful death lawyers if you a loved one has died due to a drunk driving accident.
Contact a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer from Abel & Annes, P.C. today.
When you are struck by a Chicago drunk driver and suffer serious injuries, it can feel like the entire world is falling apart. You need to contact our Chicago injury accident lawyer to get the justice and compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Abel & Annes, P.C will work with the authorities and insurance company to resolve your claim. You have legal options, whether you were in a car, on a motorcycle, or a pedestrian struck by a drunk driver. Passengers in the drunk driver’s vehicle can also file a claim, although that can be more complex. Always allow us to evaluate your rights.
Drunk drivers in Chicago must be held responsible for their actions, so you must immediately contact Abels & Annes, P.C., to hold these irresponsible drivers accountable. These cases can be stressful, and you need a Chicago drunk driving accident lawyer on your side. Contact us at Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (312) 924-7575 for a no-cost case evaluation.