Urbana Drunk Driving Accident
Urbana Drunk Driving Accident Attorney
Everyone knows that you should never drink and drive. The science and the law on this point have been well established. Yet despite tough impaired driving laws, we still see hundreds of drunk driving-related fatalities each year on Illinois roads. Thousands more sustain serious, life-altering injuries as the result of an impaired driver’s recklessness.
Aside from the potential criminal penalties that drunk drivers face from the State of Illinois, individual accident victims have the right to seek compensation through civil lawsuits. The experienced Urbana drunk driving accident lawyers at Patel Law, PC, offer skilled professional representation to victims and their families. We understand all too well the devastating impact that a drunk driver’s actions can have. That is why we make every effort to seek justice in holding these negligent drivers legally accountable for their actions.
What is Considered Drunk Driving in Illinois?
Illinois defines drunk driving–or “driving under the influence” (DUI)–as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating compounds. The most common definition of intoxication is when the driver is determined to have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08%, which is determined through a blood, breath, or urine test.
Even if the driver has a lower BAC, or no test is ever administered, there may be other evidence that proves intoxication or impairment. The key is whether the driver is shown to be “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs. Keep in mind, this is not limited to illegal drugs or substances. A person who takes a legal prescription may still be under the influence if it affects his or her ability to operate a vehicle safely.
In short, there may be many signs that drunk or impaired driving caused a car accident. Our Urbana drunk driving accident lawyers can review all of the available evidence and help build your case against the negligent driver. If alcohol or drugs were a factor, we will make every effort to see that a judge or jury knows about it.
Does it Matter if the Driver was Charged With Criminal DUI?
A question we often get at Patel Law, PC is, “Will it affect my civil case if the drunk driver was convicted of a crime?” Every case is unique, of course, but here is what we can say in broad terms. Yes, a criminal DUI conviction can make it easier for an accident victim to prove negligence in a subsequent civil case. It is important to understand that civil and criminal cases operate under completely different standards of proof.
In a criminal trial, a prosecutor must prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In contrast, a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit must only establish the defendant’s negligence by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is a lower burden of proof, and it means that the lack of a criminal conviction does not prevent an Urbana drunk driving accident victim from successfully pursuing a civil claim. Indeed, it does not even matter if police failed to cite the defendant for DUI in the first place.
When do I Need to File a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit in Illinois?
One reason you should consult with an experienced Urbana drunk driving accident attorney as soon as is practicable is that Illinois law does impose certain time limits on civil lawsuits. For personal injury claims arising from a car accident, that time limit is normally two years from the date of the accident. This is not as much time as you might think at first glance. Bringing a civil lawsuit requires a substantial investment of time and investigation before a case is actually filed. This means that the sooner you start working with a lawyer, the more time you will have to adequately prepare your case.
How Much Will a Drunk Driver Have to Pay?
In any car accident lawsuit, the negligent driver can be held liable for the victim’s economic and non-economic damages. This includes the victim’s out-of-pocket losses, such as medical bills or lost income, as well as more intangible items like pain and suffering. If the victim died as a result of a drunk driving accident, the surviving family members can seek compensation for their own grief and loss of their loved one’s companionship.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today with Patel Law, PC
A drunk driving accident is a trauma that no family should have to endure alone. Urbana drunk driving accident attorney Baku N. Patel is here to assist you in taking the first steps toward rebuilding your lives. Contact his office today to schedule a free consultation.