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Winnebago County personal injury attorney drunk driver

Have you ever been to a bar or a party and witnessed someone having too much alcohol to drink? It is a common occurrence for individuals who are underage or who have just recently turned 21 to drink a few too many. When alcohol is involved, accidents with injuries can occur. When you are the injured party, you may be able to hold multiple parties responsible. Illinois has two laws that address the danger that overconsumption can place on others. If you have been injured on account of someone’s level of alcohol consumption, you may be able to prove that the serving party is liable.

Dram Shop Laws

Illinois law provides legal protection to those who have been injured by an intoxicated party. For instance, someone who gets pushed and injured by an intoxicated person at a bar or someone who is hit by a drunk driver may wish to press charges against the intoxicated individual and the bar itself. The person who causes the injury, aka the drunk individual, cannot use Illinois’ dram shop law to his or her benefit. This law is solely for the purpose of providing compensation to the sober, injured individual to make up for any medical costs, time away from work, and emotional distress that the accident may have caused.

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Rockford wrongful death lawyersDriving under the influence of alcohol is a major problem in the U.S., as well as throughout the world. More than 10,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in the United States in 2018 alone. It is estimated that alcohol impairment is a contributing factor in nearly a third of all U.S. fatal auto accidents. Despite strict laws regulating alcohol use behind the wheel and numerous public campaigns educating drivers about the risks of driving while intoxicated, drunk driving accidents continue to occur. If you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you may be left in complete financial ruin. Although no amount of money could make up for your loss, you may be able to receive financial relief through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Illinois Laws Regarding Wrongful Death   

According to the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, a wrongful death is defined as a death caused by “a wrongful act, neglect or default.” When someone is killed in a wrongful death accident, a representative of the deceased person, often a spouse or other relative, may bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. Through this claim, the surviving loved ones of the deceased person may be able to receive compensation for their losses.

Many wrongful death and personal injury claims are based upon the defendant’s alleged negligence. This means that in order for a claimant to receive compensation, the claimant and his or her attorney must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the injury or death. However, when a claim involves a crime such as driving under the influence or reckless driving, the criteria for proving the defendant’s fault is different. Individuals who cause others to be harmed or killed as a result of unlawful activities may be considered “negligent per se,” which means that a presumption of negligence is created.

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Winnebago County personal injury attorneysFor many people, the upcoming six weeks are the best time of the year. Getting together with friends and family to enjoy a special meal, exchange gifts, or simply catch up is a cherished part of the holiday season. Many of these holiday gatherings will also involve alcohol. Unfortunately, this means that there are more alcohol-impaired drivers on the roads during the holiday season. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that on average, about a third of fatal car accidents involve an alcohol-impaired driver. During the winter holiday season however, an astounding 60 percent of fatal traffic accidents involve a driver who was drinking. This holiday season, make a commitment not to drink and drive and take steps to keep you and your family as safe as possible on the roads.

Make a Transportation Plan Before Drinking

One of the most misunderstood things about drinking and driving is that most individuals who are caught driving under the influence never intended to drive intoxicated. Often, auto accidents occur when drivers do not realize how impaired they actually are and overestimate their ability to drive a car safely. When a person consumes alcohol, the brain releases a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This results in lowered inhibitions, increased impulsivity, and diminished decision-making skills. It is extremely important to always have a travel plan in place before starting to drink. Waiting to figure out how you will get home from a holiday party after you have already begun drinking can be disastrous.

If You Are Involved in an Accident with a Drunk Driver, Act Quickly

The team at Mannarino & Brasfield hope that your holiday season is safe and enjoyable. However, if you are involved in an accident with an intoxicated driver, make sure to take the following steps: Always call the police if you have been in a car crash with a person you suspect has been drinking. If you have been injured—even slightly—get checked out at the hospital immediately. Often, individuals involved in a car accident do not realize how hurt they really are until hours after the accident. Lastly, take steps to document the damage to your vehicle as well as any injuries you sustained.

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