If you’ve been involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, know that Illinois DUI laws impose strict criminal charges against those who cause a drunk driving accident. The penalties incurred by the drunk driver vary depending on many factors, so it’s important to know the details of both your case and the Illinois DUI laws. A Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you understand the laws and how they apply to your drunk driving accident.
The Basics of DUI in Illinois
As with all states, Illinois DUI laws classify intoxication as .08% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher. When driving on any Illinois roadway, you are automatically consenting to a test of your blood, breath and/or urine to determine level of intoxication in accordance with the Implied Consent Law. Failure to submit to these tests may increase the duration of your license suspension.
Illinois DUI laws also impose additional penalties for open containers of alcohol present in the passenger area, DUI with a minor in the vehicle, allowing an intoxicated driver to use your vehicle, and being convicted of DUI if you are younger than 21 years.
Aggravated DUI in Illinois
The driver that caused your drunk driving accident is now liable for prosecution under the Illinois DUI laws for Aggravated DUI. These laws apply to any drunk driver who causes a drunk driving accident resulting in the injury or death of another party. This sort of DUI conviction is classified as a Class 4 felony punishable by 1 to 12 years in jail.
If the accident resulted in a death, it moves to a Class 2 felony with 3 to14 years in jail, 6 to 28 years for multiple deaths, and fines of up to $25,000.
Aside from the fines and penalties assessed to the other driver responsible in your drunk driving accident, you may want to seek an Illinois personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for damages from your injury or loss of a loved one. A Chicago personal injury lawyer can help you file your claim and work for a settlement on your case.
The next part of our article explains the enhanced penalties for multiple convictions, driving with a minor as a passenger, and causing an accident in which personal injury or death is a result.
Illinois Courts and Punitive Damages
Illinois courts generally do not support imposing punitive damages in personal injury claims. However, this is not always true for DUI accidents, and courts occasionally allow victims of a DUI accident to seek punitive damages in their claim.
In a DUI accident, the victim has to prove:
- that the driver consumed enough intoxicant to make them lose full control of their mental and physical faculties
- that impairment caused the DUI accident and injury
- the driver showed disregard for the safety of others by driving drunk
Insurance Settlements and Punitive Damages
Punitive damages in a DUI accident claim are an area of conflict for insurance companies. An insurance policy does not cover for punitive damages. In this case, the money is paid out of the defense’s personal assets. Insurance is there to protect personal assets, so if you are seeking punitive damages in your DUI accident claim, this pressures the insurance company to settle and protect their clients’ assets.
This is why many DUI accident claims tend to settle at higher values than non-DUI car accidents. You can pressure the insurance company to settle for your full terms and avoid them low-balling your claim. Your DUI accident claim should be reviewed by a Chicago personal injury lawyer who knows when to seek punitive damages.
How a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
At the start of your DUI accident claim you should get advice on what kind of damages you can seek. An experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer will know when it may be a good idea to attempt to seek punitive damages in addition to normal compensatory damages.
A Chicago personal injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. can evaluate your case for free and help you file your DUI accident claim, contact us today – (312) 263-1080