We have recovered millions of dollars for injury victims and their families.

Your options if you are hit by a drunk driver

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Being hit by a drunk driver, whether you are a pedestrian or another driver, can leave you with serious physical injuries and emotional trauma. Knowing the negligence of the drunk driver caused the accident can leave you wanting to hold them accountable.

After a car accident that was not your fault, you typically file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. However, some insurance companies may not pay compensation if the policyholder acted negligently, such as in a drunk driving accident.

In some cases, the insurance company does pay, but the amount of compensation is not enough to cover your total losses. You can then file a personal injury action against the drunk driver.

Since recovering from your accident and working through the complexities of the insurance process can take time, it is important to file your personal injury claim within the statute of limitations. In Illinois, this is two years from the date of the accident.

Proving negligence

Recovering compensation in a personal injury action requires proving negligence. This means proving the drunk driver failed in their legal duty to drive with reasonable care and that failure caused your accident.

Proof requires evidence, which in this type of case can include photographs or videos of the accident scene, documentation showing the drunk driver’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash, your medical records or witness statements.

If the drunk driver was criminally charged and convicted of DUI, the conviction is also strong evidence of their negligence.

Modified comparative negligence

Illinois follows a legal standard called modified comparative negligence in personal injury cases. This means you can recover compensation only if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident.

You may believe this is an easy standard to meet in a drunk driving case. But the drunk driver could claim you were speeding, distracted or failed to follow a traffic law which are other forms of negligence. Depending on how a court apportions the percentage of fault, this could reduce or bar your compensation.