Lake County Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyers

Lake County Drunk Driving Car Accident LawyersIt is illegal for any driver to operate their vehicle while intoxicated, yet driving under the influence (DUI) continues to be a leading cause of accidents and one of the most commonly prosecuted criminal offenses in Lake County. If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it’s vital to speak with experienced Lake County drunk driving car accident lawyers you can trust to help you understand your recovery options.

Lake County, IL, Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyers You Can Trust

The attorneys at Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley have extensive professional experience representing victims of all types of car accidents in Lake County, including those resulting from intoxicated driving. We know how to help our clients overcome the legal challenges they face as they seek accountability and compensation for the damages they’ve incurred from these accidents.

You have a limited time in which to pursue your recovery after a drunk driving accident in Lake County. Your recovery process will likely begin with an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver, and then you will need to file a personal injury claim if their insurance cannot fully cover your damages. Because they broke the law in causing your accident, a criminal case from the state will likely unfold alongside your civil claim.

Our firm can carefully review the details of your accident and help determine the optimal path to recovering your damages. We have helped many past clients recover from all types of car accidents and can resolve your insurance-related issues before building a comprehensive civil suit for you that aims for maximum compensation. The sooner you connect with our firm, the more time we have to build your case.

Why Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for a Drunk Driving Car Accident Claim?

It is technically possible for the victim of a car accident to pursue recovery on their own, and there is no law requiring that you hire an attorney to represent your case. However, if you attempted this, you would face many significant risks and challenges you may not be able to overcome on your own. You could be risking your recovery in your effort to avoid paying legal fees, and this is never worth the risk.

If you tried to handle your recovery without an attorney, you would be forced to contend with many procedural obligations and tight filing deadlines for both your automobile insurance claim and a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Even honest mistakes can lead to significant delays in your case’s progress or even jeopardize your case entirely.

You are not only more likely to succeed with your recovery with an injury attorney’s help but also more likely to secure maximum repayment of your damages. You may have a firm grasp of the immediately recognizable damages you can seek from the driver who injured you, but an accurate assessment of the full extent of your claimable damages can be more challenging than you expect.

Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley can work with you through every stage of your recovery, from gathering the evidence needed to firmly assert fault for the accident to proving the full scope of the damages you suffered. Our goal for every client we represent in Lake County is maximum compensation in the shortest possible timeframe, and the sooner you contact our team, the sooner we can begin building your case.

Understanding Fault in Car Accident Claims

The state enforces the fault rule in vehicle accident cases. This means that whoever is at fault for causing an accident is liable for all resultant damages. While the most common reasons for car accidents in the state include various forms of negligence, illegal misconduct like DUI is also one of the most frequently cited causes. Proving fault is relatively straightforward in most drunk driving accident cases.

While fault may be perfectly clear to you in your drunk driving accident case, you will still need to gather various forms of evidence to firmly make your case. Traffic camera recordings, eyewitness statements, cell phone records, and other types of evidence can help establish fault.

It’s important to remember that while the drunk driver who hit you will likely be found more at fault for your accident than you are, if you share any liability for the accident, it will diminish your recovery. The state follows the modified comparative fault rule, meaning that when a driver is found partially at fault for causing their damages, they lose a percentage of their final case award to reflect this.

Under the modified comparative fault rule, the plaintiff’s fault threshold is 50%. If they are less than 50% at fault, their fault percentage is how much of their final case award they lose as a penalty, and they keep the remainder. If they are found to be 50% or more at fault, they lose the right to claim compensation from another liable party, even if that party broke the law. Your attorney can address any complex questions of liability you may have concerning fault.

Recovering Through Auto Insurance in Lake County

Illinois upholds the fault rule for vehicle accident claims, so every driver in the state must have liability coverage that comes into play if they cause an accident with another driver. Every driver must have car insurance that includes basic coverage:

  • An individual policy must cover a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury to one person in an accident the policyholder caused.
  • The driver’s policy must expand their bodily injury liability coverage to a minimum of $50,000 for injuries to multiple victims in a single accident.
  • The policy must offer a minimum of $20,000 to cover property damage the policyholder caused, namely vehicle repair costs.

Drivers are also strongly encouraged but not required to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. If you have this coverage option and an uninsured driver causes an accident with you, you could claim against your own policy to recover some initial compensation, and you would not face any penalties if you did not cause the accident.

If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage and the at-fault driver either does not have insurance or their insurance cannot cover your damages, you will need to then file a personal injury suit against them to recover your damages.

Building Your Personal Injury Claim Against a Drunk Driver in Lake County

It’s likely that the driver who caused your accident was arrested at the scene once the first responders arrived. However, if the driver hit you and fled the scene, the police will need to identify and locate them before conducting their arrest. You will need the police report from your accident so you can proceed with your recovery.

After identifying the driver who caused your accident, you must then show proof of the full extent of the losses you suffered in the accident. You may be able to recover some of these damages through your auto insurance claim, but all damages not covered by insurance must be claimed through a personal injury action against the drunk driver who hit you.

Illinois law allows the plaintiff in a personal injury case to seek recompense for all direct financial losses they suffered from a defendant’s actions. For most plaintiffs in Lake County, their claimable economic damages will likely include:

  • Vehicle repair costs. If your vehicle was damaged or destroyed in the accident, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance might repay some of the losses. The remainder can be included as economic damages in your personal injury claim.
  • Medical treatment costs. Drunk driving accidents have a high chance of resulting in catastrophic injuries, and the defendant’s insurance may only cover a fraction of your medical expenses resulting from the accident. You can seek recompense for all immediate and future medical expenses that arise.
  • Lost wages. You might not be able to work in the aftermath of the accident, and the defendant will be liable for any income you cannot earn during this period.
  • Lost earning potential. Unfortunately, many drunk driving accidents result in permanent harm. If you have been permanently disabled by the injuries you suffered in your recent accident, the defendant is liable for the future income you are no longer able to earn. Your Lake County drunk driving car accident lawyers can help accurately calculate the future income you can no longer earn and add this to your claim as economic damages.

Once you have an attorney to handle your case and they help calculate the total immediate and future economic damages you can seek from the defendant, you may be surprised to learn that your case is worth much more than you initially expected. However, you also can seek pain and suffering recompense from the at-fault driver.

There is no cap on pain and suffering recompense in drunk driving accident claims in the state, so a plaintiff may claim as much as they believe to be suitable to reflect the scope of the harm they suffered. If you sustained any permanent injuries in the accident, you may recover several times the total of your claimed economic damages in pain and suffering recompense. Your attorney can assist you in maximizing this aspect of your case award.

There are two common methods that attorneys use to determine pain and suffering recompense for their clients. The first is the per diem method, typically reserved for clients expected to make full recoveries in the short term after their accidents. The attorney determines an appropriate per-day amount of compensation to reflect the pain their client experiences after the accident and then multiplies this amount by the number of days it takes for them to recover.

The other method is the multiplier method, which is more applicable to clients who have suffered extreme injuries and face permanent damage. Using this method, the attorney adds the total of their client’s economic damages and then multiplies this amount by a factor between one and five. The more serious the victim’s injuries, the more they are likely to obtain in pain and suffering recompense.

Penalties for DUI in Illinois

The driver who caused your recent accident not only faces liability for your damages but they also face criminal prosecution from the state. DUI can incur various penalties that increase significantly when a defendant has committed previous DUIs and/or if they caused serious bodily injury or death with their actions.

The defendant who caused your recent drunk driving car accident will likely face heavy fines, court fees, and penalty assessments. They could also be required to pay restitution to you as an element of their criminal sentence alongside the compensation they owe for the victim’s damages. They are also likely to face jail time, and they will have their driver’s license suspended. The more serious the damages they caused, the more severe these penalties will be.

Resolving Your Drunk Driving Car Accident Claim in Lake County

While the state will handle the criminal case against the drunk driver who injured you, your Lake County drunk driving car accident lawyer can be your primary resource and most valuable asset as you navigate your recovery options available under state civil law. This recovery process begins with your auto insurance claim, and once you exhaust the recovery available from insurance, you must proceed with your personal injury suit against the drunk driver.

Most personal injury cases filed in Lake County do not go to trial. When a defendant is clearly at fault for a plaintiff’s damages, they are likely to seek a swift and private resolution through settlement negotiation. During settlement proceedings, both parties meet with their respective attorneys to negotiate mutually acceptable terms for resolving the claim. As long as both parties are open to compromise, they can settle the case relatively quickly.

However, litigation may be necessary if a defendant denies fault and/or disputes the range of damages the plaintiff is seeking. It is also possible for the victim of a drunk driving accident to be called as a witness to testify against the defendant in their criminal trial. If your case will require participation in any type of litigation, your Lake County drunk driving car accident lawyers can prepare you for these proceedings.

What to Expect From Your Lake County Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer

The attorneys at Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley have years of professional experience representing victims of all types of car accidents in Lake County, including drunk driving accident cases. We know that you could face many significant legal challenges in your efforts to recover your losses, and attempting to handle this type of case on your own is risky and unlikely to yield the results you hope to see.

When you have Lake County drunk driving car accident lawyers you can trust representing you, you can approach your recovery with greater confidence and will be well-prepared to face the challenges ahead and take full advantage of the recovery opportunities you may have overlooked on your own. With the right legal team representing you, you will more likely succeed in maximizing your recovery.

In every case we accept, we immediately begin gathering the evidence needed to firmly establish liability for our client’s damages. This may seem perfectly straightforward in your drunk driving accident case, but the reality is that you need to ensure solid proof of liability if you want to maximize your recovery. We can help gather any evidence needed to build your civil claim and guide you through the auto insurance claim filing process.

We have defended many past clients before large insurance carriers and know the tactics they often use to attempt to avoid paying out maximum compensation on a car accident claim. We can ensure your claim is handled in good faith and that you receive a fair settlement offer. After you recover as much as possible through insurance, we can help maximize the result of your personal injury claim.

If you have concerns about the cost of hiring your Lake County drunk driving car accident lawyers, it is no cause for alarm when you choose Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley to represent you. We can represent your personal injury case on contingency, so you only pay a fee to our firm after we win the case. Additionally, the fee is a portion of the compensation we recover for you, so there is no risk of paying more for legal counsel than you win for your damages.

Skilled Lake County Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyers

After an arrest in Lake County for drunk driving, you need a compassionate and experienced team of attorneys. Our firm can help. We understand the difficulties you face and want to ensure the most optimal outcome for your situation.

You have a limited time in which to pursue your recovery after a drunk driving accident. Reaching out to a trustworthy legal team as soon as possible ensures you meet this deadline and provides your attorney with as much time as possible to build your case. Contact Franks Gerkin Ponitz Greeley today and schedule your consultation with our team of Lake County drunk driving car accident lawyers to start working toward your recovery.

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