Driving under the influence of alcohol creates serious risks for others sharing the roadways. The Chicago drunk driving accident attorneys with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates are tough advocates for people injured by drunk drivers. If you or a loved one were injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, please call us at (800) 985-1819 today.
Steps to take after being in a drunk driving crash
The steps you take after an accident can have a tremendous impact on your ability to seek compensation for your injuries. If you were involved in a drunk driving crash, following these steps is essential.
1. Move your vehicle to a safer location
If possible, move your vehicle to a safe spot away from the road. This will help ensure that you and other drivers are not in danger of being hit by other vehicles.
2. Check yourself and your passenger(s) for injuries
Take a moment to assess yourself and any passengers in your vehicle for potential injuries. If anyone is injured, try not to move them and wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive.
3. Call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance
Request that both police and an ambulance be sent to the scene of the crash. A police report can help with your insurance claim, should you choose to file one.
4. Tell your side of the story to the responding police officer
Provide a detailed account of the accident to the responding police officer. Include any information you can recall about the other vehicle and its driver. Your statement will be incorporated into the official police report, so refrain from speculating, making assumptions, or admitting fault.
5. Notify your insurance company
Call your insurance provider and make them aware that you have been in an accident. Don’t provide any details beyond what’s necessary, such as the date, time, and location of the accident. Your lawyer can talk to them later to provide additional information.
6. Gather evidence at the scene
If you’re safely able to do so, take photos and videos of the accident scene, including any property damage and visible injuries. Make sure to get contact information from other drivers who were involved in the accident along with any witnesses.
7. Visit urgent care or your primary care physician
Whether or not you feel any pain or discomfort, it’s crucial to visit a medical professional as soon as possible after an accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a doctor can evaluate you for any unseen damage. This will also establish a clear link between your injuries and the accident.
8. Meet with a drunk driving accident attorney to understanding your legal options
Many drunk driving accidents are grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. To find out what legal options you have, seek the advice of an experienced drunk driving accident attorney. A lawyer can help you determine if you have a valid claim and begin taking steps toward seeking compensation.
Make sure you file a claim on time
It’s important to note that you have a limited window of time to file a claim for compensation after being involved in an accident with a drunk driver. Each state has its own statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing a personal injury claim. In Illinois, this is two years from the date of the accident.
If you fail to file a claim before this deadline, you may be denied the opportunity to seek compensation for any injuries or damages.
Pursuing compensation for injuries caused by a drunk driver
When a drunk driver is clearly at fault for an accident, it should be a simple matter to recover damages. However, insurance companies have their own bottom line in mind. They typically fight to pay out as little as possible, even on a drunk driving accident claim.
Our experienced Chicago car accident lawyers can negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf or fight for your rights in court if necessary. Clifford Horwitz, who heads our lead trial team, has won virtually every case he’s taken to trial.
With record-setting jury verdicts in more than 25% of these victories, we’re confident we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Possible damages you can claim
The goal of a personal injury claim is to restore you to the financial state you were in before you were injured. If your claim is successful, you can receive compensation for the losses you’ve suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the accident.
These losses, known as damages, are divided into two primary categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that have a clear monetary value. Any losses that can be quantified, such as medical bills and lost wages, fall under this category of damages. When calculating economic damages, your attorney will include past, present, and future losses that have resulted from the accident.
Non-economic damages are those without a fixed financial value but that can still cause suffering and hardship. These include (but aren’t limited to) pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.
These losses are harder to quantify than economic damages, but a Chicago drunk driving lawyer can help you put a dollar amount on your suffering and advocate for a fair settlement.
Parties who may be liable for your injury
Liability can be straightforward in drunk driving accidents, but it can also be complicated if there are multiple parties involved. Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, more than one person may be found liable for your injuries. Even if the drunk driver’s actions were the primary cause of your injury, other factors could have contributed to the accident as well.
It’s important to identify all potentially liable parties who may have been involved in your accident in addition to the drunk driver. In some cases, this can be another driver who was sharing the road at the time of the accident, or it could be a bar or restaurant that served the driver alcohol prior to the crash.
How our Chicago attorneys prove negligence
To successfully recover damages in a drunk driving accident case, we must prove that the other driver was negligent. To prove negligence, we must demonstrate:
- The other driver had a duty to act responsibly
- They failed to adhere to that duty
- Their negligence was the direct cause of your injuries
- You suffered real damages as a result
We fight the insurance company to get you maximum compensation
Accident claims are usually filed against the drunk driver’s insurance policy. However, insurance companies are notorious for offering low settlement amounts to victims in order to save themselves money.
Our Chicago personal injury attorneys are skilled negotiators and understand how insurance companies operate. We’ll do everything in our power to get you the maximum amount of compensation for your losses so that you can focus on your recovery. If the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement, we’re prepared to take your case to court and fight for the justice you deserve.
Common drunk driving accident injuries
The effects of drunk driving accidents can range from minor to severe, depending on factors such as speed and force of impact. Common injuries sustained in these types of collisions include:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
A drunk driving accident claim can account for these and other types of losses and help you get the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
“Dos” and “don’ts” of dealing with insurance after a crash
Although our attorneys will handle most of the negotiations with the insurance company, you may still be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company at some point. It is important to be aware of what you should and shouldn’t do in these situations.
- Refer all calls and communication to your attorney.
- Stick to the basic facts of the accident when asked about what happened.
- Take notes on conversations with the insurance company and retain copies of any documents sent to you.
- Speculate about liability or admit fault.
- Sign any documents sent by the insurance company without first consulting with your attorney.
- Accept a settlement offer without getting legal advice.
- Agree to give a recorded statement.
When in doubt, consult with your lawyer before taking action. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your legal rights.
Cost of hiring a Chicago drunk driving accident lawyer
You’re already dealing with the financial burden of medical bills and missed time from work due to your injuries, so you may be worried about how you’ll afford legal representation. We understand your concerns, and that’s why we provide our services on a contingency fee basis.
This means that our fees are taken out of the settlement we get for you. In other words, you don’t have to pay anything upfront for our services. We only get paid if we’re successful in getting you money.
Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible
It’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible after being involved in a drunk driving accident — even if you don’t think you’re injured. Some injuries, such as whiplash or soft tissue damage, may not be immediately apparent, and waiting too long to get treatment can negatively affect your health and the strength of your case.
By visiting a doctor soon after your accident, you’ll establish a clear link between the crash and your injuries, which will be helpful if you decide to file a claim for damages.
Why hire Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates
Collectively, our trial lawyers have more than 200 years of experience and have earned numerous accolades and awards. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, contact our firm for dedicated legal assistance in holding responsible parties accountable.
Our Chicago drunk driving accident lawyers are here to help
Drunk drivers cause thousands of fatal and serious injury accidents on our roadways every year. Our Chicago accident lawyers believe drunk driving victims deserve to be compensated. After a serious drunk driving accident, get in touch with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates in Chicago.
We have the experience, legal skills, and successful track record you need on your side. Call (800) 985-1819 today to schedule your risk-free consultation.