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Wrongful Death Claims Involving Drunk Driving Accidents

Posted on in Wrongful Death

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.

Pursuing Compensation After Losing a Loved One in a Drunk Driving Accident

In order to bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit against a drunk driver, you and your legal counsel will need to prove that:

  • The driver violated a public safety law
  • The person killed in the accident is included in the class of people the law is designed to protect
  • The law is intended to prevent the injury/death sustained in the accident
  • The defendant’s violation of the law caused the death

Although the standards for proving liability in cases of presumed negligence are different from other types of injury cases, this does not mean that proving a driver’s liability is always easy. This is why it is essential to work with a lawyer who has experience bringing successful wrongful death claims against responsible parties.

Contact a Rockford Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one in a fatal auto accident is a devastating experience that can result in significant personal and financial losses. To learn more about your ability to recover compensation after losing a loved one in a drunk driving accident, contact Mannarino & Brasfield, a Division of KJS. Call us at 815-215-7561 today and schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned Winnebago County personal injury attorneys.

 

Sources:

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812864

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

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