As summer approaches, the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents will begin to rise. As we all know, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can often have catastrophic consequences. Each year, pedestrians, passengers, and drivers of other vehicles are seriously injured or killed by drunk drivers.
It becomes critical to speak to a top personal injury lawyer in Chicago to discuss whether you or your family have a cause of action against anyone relating to the drunk driving accident, including: the drunk driver, the person or company who “entrusted” the drunk driver with the vehicle, the person or company who over-served the drunk driver, or others.
In 2008, The National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NHTSB) estimated 12,988 people died in alcohol-related crashes. In 2007, the NHTSB ranked Illinois in the upper third of alcohol-related fatalities as a percentage of total fatalities by state.
As with all motor vehicle accidents, victims who survive may sustain severe personal injuries, such as traumatic brain injury or neck and spinal cord injuries. Such catastrophic personal injuries have long-term effects. According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website, in 2000, there was an estimated $63.2 billion in quality of life losses. Having an experienced auto accident attorney is an important step in being able to recover costs for medical bills, property damage, lost wages and other non-liquidated damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional injury, and loss of normal life.
In Illinois, in addition to bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver, it is it also possible to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the vendor or person who sold the alcohol. The Illinois Liquor Control Act of 1934 (235 ILCS 5/1), also known as the Dram Shop Act, makes such a personal injury lawsuit possible.
Pursuant to the Act, the liability limits for causes of action brought under the Act change on January 20 of each year. As described in 235 ILCS 5/6-21(a), the limits are adjusted based on the “Consumer price index-u” from the preceding year. The “Consumer price index-u” is determined by the United States Department of Labor.
An experienced Chicago car accident attorney can help you navigate through the liability limits for your potential cause of action, and can also ensure that you are able to hold all people and entities liable under Illinois law for causing the car accident, in addition to the drunk driver.