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st-patricks-day-drunk-driving-dangers.jpgIn just over two weeks, thousands of Illinois residents will flock to pubs and bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, some of these revelers will inevitably choose to drive home under the influence of alcohol. Because St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking days of the year in many communities, it is also one of the most dangerous days to be on the road. Sadly, it is estimated that a person loses his or her life in an alcohol-related car accident every 37 minutes on St. Patrick’s Day and countless more are injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds St. Patrick’s Day partiers to arrange for a designated driver, taxi, rideshare, or other safe means of transportation if they plan on drinking.

Personal Injury Claims Against a Drunk Driver

People involved in drunk driving accidents may suffer broken bones, spine and neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, and more. These injuries can leave a person with enormous hospital bills and ongoing medical costs. The injured person may even be permanently disabled and never regain the quality of life he or she had before the accident. When a drunk driver causes an accident and someone is hurt or killed, a personal injury claim may help the injured person or surviving loved ones collect compensation for their damages. Civil claims for damages can be brought in concurrence with criminal DUI charges.

Dram Shop Liability Laws in Illinois

Illinois law also allows a person hurt in a drunk driving accident to pursue a claim against the bar or other establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol. Successful dram shop liability claims can be difficult to achieve, but they are possible. Four main conditions must be present in order for an injured person to receive compensation through a dram shop claim:

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Lake County personal injury attorneysMarijuana has several substantial effects on a user’s body and mind. Depending on the amount of cannabis smoked or otherwise consumed, the drug may cause impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and slowed reflexes. These effects can significantly impair a person’s ability to safely drive. On January 1, 2020, Illinois legalized the recreational consumption and use of cannabis. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of marijuana, you may wonder what your options for compensation are now that cannabis is legal.

Drugged Driving Laws in Illinois

When most people think of driving under the influence (DUI), they assume the intoxicating substance is alcohol. However, driving drunk is not the only way a person can be charged with a DUI in Illinois. It is also against Illinois law to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle if:

  • There is a controlled substance in the driver's body.
  • A driver's blood contains a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of five nanograms per milliliter or more. THC is the main psychoactive substance in cannabis.
  • Another bodily substance (such as saliva) contains a THC concentration of ten nanograms per milliliter or more.
  • A driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to an extent that leaves him or her unable to drive safely.

The legalization of recreational marijuana does not negate the laws prohibiting drugged driving. Even though it is now legal to purchase and use cannabis in Illinois, a person can still be guilty of a criminal offense for driving under the influence of cannabis.

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Lake County personal injury attorneysThe vast majority of personal injury cases revolve around the concept of negligence. The term "negligence" refers to a party’s failure to act with an appropriate level of care. Anyone driving on public roads has a duty to drive responsibility and avoid injuring other drivers or pedestrians. An individual who drives with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more is breaking the law by driving under the influence (DUI). If a drunk driver causes an accident in which someone was injured or killed, the driver can be considered “negligent per se” and held legally responsible for the damages caused by the accident.

Understanding Negligence Per Se

In a typical personal injury claim, the injured individual and his or her legal counsel have the burden of proving how the defendant’s actions or inactions caused the injury. Generally, to win a personal injury case, the plaintiff must show:

  • The defendant had a “duty of care” to the injured person.
  • The defendant failed to uphold the duty of care.
  • The plaintiff was injured.
  • The plaintiff’s injury was caused by the defendant’s failure to uphold his or her duty.

Personal injury claims involving illegal actions like driving under the influence of alcohol are slightly different. “Negligence per se” refers to actions which are negligent because they break the law. If you bring a personal injury claim under the umbrella of negligence per se, you must only prove that that defendant broke the law and that the violation of the law caused your injury. Under the doctrine of negligence per se, a defendant is considered negligent if the following elements are present:

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Lake County DUI lawyerUnderage drinking tends to rise in May and June due to graduation parties and other celebrations that mark the end of the school year. Unfortunately, intoxicated minors often make risky choices, which can result in catastrophic injuries from falls or car crashes. These young people may injure not only themselves but also other people, particularly in drunk driving accidents. These accidents can cause substantial financial and emotional damage as well as physical injury. Everyone looks for someone to hold liable for these damages.  

Most people have heard of dram shop laws, which make a licensed liquor seller who overserves a visibly intoxicated customer financially liable for injuries caused by that impaired customer, typically in a drunk driving crash.

What many people do not realize is that Illinois also has a set of social host liability laws that apply to parents and other adults. In specific situations, an adult who contributes to the impairment of a minor by alcohol or illegal drugs can be held liable for injuries resulting from that minor’s impairment.

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Drunk Driving Dangers in Illinois

Posted on in Drunk Driving Accidents

Lake County drunk driving accident lawyer

Here in the state of Illinois, every year, thousands of drivers make the reckless and dangerous decision to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drinking during or prior to operating a motor vehicle can severely impact a person’s reaction time, vision, and decision-making. Due to the inherent dangers of drunk driving, law enforcement officers throughout the state are constantly on the lookout for inebriated drivers. 

If you or a loved one were injured in a collision with a drunk driver, you deserve injury compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In the event of an accident, speak with an attorney immediately. 

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