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Our public awareness campaigns against drunk driving have spanned decades and evolved over time; still, drunk driving is a serious problem in our country which puts innocent lives at risk and results in serious injuries and even death on a regular basis. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected and you can be compensated for your injuries and losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle damage, and pain and suffering.

As we all know, alcohol is a depressant which can impair and slow down your central nervous system, resulting in effects such as impaired judgment, altered depth-perception, slowed reaction-times, and blurred vision. Drunk driving exponentially increases the risk of an auto accident, and these accidents occur in many ways, including: rear-end collisions, which sometimes result in multi-car, chain-reaction collisions; striking pedestrians, especially near intersections and in densely-populated areas; and high-speed accidents with other vehicles, especially on highways and freeways. Unfortunately, these accidents can also be serious enough to result in fatalities.

For nearly 23 years (since 1995), Illinois has had a “Zero Tolerance Law” for underage drunk driving and continues to strictly enforce policies for drunk driving in general. Here is Illinois law as it applies to drivers under the influence of alcohol:

(625 ILCS 5/11-501) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-501)

Sec. 11-501. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds or any combination thereof.

(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while:

(1) the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11-501.2;

(2) under the influence of alcohol;

(3) under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely;

(4) under the influence of any other drug or combination of drugs to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving;

(5) under the combined influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely driving; or

(6) there is any amount of a drug, substance, or compound in the person’s breath, blood, or urine resulting from the unlawful use or consumption of cannabis listed in the Cannabis Control Act, a controlled substance listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, an intoxicating compound listed in the Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act, or methamphetamine as listed in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act.

(b) The fact that any person charged with violating this Section is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, shall not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this Section.

In a personal injury claim, proving the drunk driver’s negligence involves four elements: duty, breach, causation (factual and legal), and damages. Drivers owe a legal “duty of care” to other drivers on the road, and driving while intoxicated is a breach of this duty of care because it endangers everyone on the road as well as pedestrians. It must then be established that the driver’s negligence resulted directly in the accident, and that this accident resulted directly in your injuries and losses.

You need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to ensure that you are fully compensated for your damages. Compensation may cover a variety of damages, such as:

  • Medical/physical therapy expenses
  • Psychological/psychiatric treatment expenses
  • Lost wages and time away from work
  • Pain and suffering (past, present, future)
  • Lost earning capacity (in cases for permanent injuries and debilitations)
  • Loss of consortium, companionship, or spousal support, if applicable

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact Mike Agruss Law today for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will file your claim and take care of the insurance company, medical bills, property damage, and lost income. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, our personal injury lawyers are not paid attorney fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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