Accidents caused by drunk drivers injure and kill thousands of people every year. Often, the injuries from these accidents can take months or even years from which to recover. 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, 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. Hence, a driver cannot defend against claims for damages by claiming he or she was not impaired. Still, even if someone has a BAC of less than .08, he or she 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 factors:
All drivers owe other drivers a duty of reasonable care. A BAC of .08 is proof of a breach of duty. However, if you can show the driver was impaired, even with a BAC of less than .08, then you can show the driver breached his or her duty.
The Role of a Criminal Case in Recovering Damages
Usually, the only way a driver’s BAC is known is because law enforcement performed a Breathalyzer test or a blood test was completed at a hospital. If a driver's BAC is .08 or higher, there will be a criminal case. The records of a criminal case are usually public.
Sometimes it makes sense to wait for a criminal conviction before fully pursuing a personal injury claim. A criminal conviction 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 an arrest is so overwhelming that waiting is not necessary.
In cases where a driver's BAC is less than .08, but a criminal case is proceeding, it often makes 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.
Consult an Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Obtaining the compensation you are legally entitled to is challenging. If you have been injured in a car accident, please consult with a Lombard, IL personal injury lawyer right away to discuss your rights and possible claims. Call Mevorah Law Offices today to schedule your free consultation at 630-932-9100.
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