Kankakee Drunk Driving Accident Victim Lawyers
Being in a car accident is always a stressful, painful event. But it can become more difficult to grapple with and understand a crash when the person who caused the accident did so because he or she was under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving is not just irresponsible – it is incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, one person’s bad decision can put others at risk of serious injury, or worse.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. At Spiros Law, P.C., our Kankakee drunk-driving victims’ lawyers are dedicated to helping people fight for the justice they deserve. To learn more, please contact us today by calling (815) 929-9292.
Common Drunk Driving Accident Cases
At Spiros Law, P.C., we pride ourselves in our experience in protecting the rights of our clients. We believe that drunk drivers pose a serious threat to society, and we are committed to working to help people who have been the victims of the accidents they cause. Drunk-driving accidents can involve more than the simple fact someone made an irresponsible decision. In some cases, the individuals enabling the drunk driver can also be held accountable.
There is no excuse for irresponsible behavior that leads to physical and emotional losses for innocent people, so those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs must be held accountable when their carelessness injures others. Alcohol can seriously impair a driver’s abilities, making it difficult for an intoxicated individual to operate a vehicle safely. Some of the effects that alcohol can have on a driver include:
- Inability to judge distances or turning radius
- Failure to slow or stop at warning signs
- Lack of focus on nearby motorists or pedestrians
- Impaired judgment
- Inability to adhere to safety regulations
Every person reacts to the effects of alcohol or other substances differently, but the legal restrictions in place to protect the public from drunk drivers should be taken seriously. When innocent drivers are injured due to the inexcusable actions of intoxicated motorists, it is important that those responsible for this unnecessary pain and suffering are held accountable for their actions.
Dram Shop Liability
Most people are unfamiliar with dram shop liability laws, but they play a major role in many drunk driving accident cases. If an establishment sells alcoholic beverages to minors or to visibly intoxicated patrons, they may be held responsible for the damage caused by these people if they are in an accident. The aim of these laws is to keep individuals who work in bars and taverns from continuing to sell alcohol to people who are inebriated, or who are under the legal drinking age.
Some people believe that these laws downplay personal responsibility. While every person needs to be held accountable for his or her actions after drinking, at Spiros Law, P.C., we believe that an establishment that sells alcohol to minors or obviously drunk individuals has behaved recklessly.
If a person is involved in an accident after drinking, in order for dram shop liability laws to come into play, the following must apply to the situation:
- A patron was sold alcohol by the defendant
- The defendant was aware that the patron was already intoxicated, or the defendant knew (or should have known) that the patron was under the age of 21
- The patron caused an accident, injuring the plaintiff
- Damages resulted, at least in part, from the patron’s intoxication
In the case of minors, bars and restaurants can be held liable for damages and injuries suffered by an intoxicated minor him or herself, as well as injuries they cause to others.
Social Host Liability
Underage drinking can destroy lives, especially when intoxicated minors get behind the wheel. While alcohol and driving should never mix, they form a particularly deadly combination in the hands of minors, who tend to lack driving experience and decision-making capabilities. Providing alcohol to minors endangers the minor in question. What’s more, underage intoxicated drivers are hazardous to anyone on the road should they get behind the wheel.
Hosts who give alcohol to minors are not only committing a criminal offense, but also contributing to any injuries the minors cause. If an underage drunk driver hurt you or someone you love in an accident, the driver may not be the only one responsible. In the state of Illinois, you also have the option to take legal action against the host who served alcohol to the driver. Spiros Law, P.C. can help you hold a reckless host accountable for injuries caused by their underage guest.
When the Social Host Law took effect on January 1, 2013, Illinois joined a number of other states that hold social hosts liable for injuries caused by minors to whom they served alcohol. Along with prescribing criminal penalties for serving alcohol to minors, the law outlines under what circumstances the victims of intoxicated minors can sue the host who provided them with alcohol. Here are the factors to consider if you want to sue under the Social Host Law:
- The age of the minor: 21 is the legal drinking age, but you can only sue under the Social Host Law if the minor who injured you was under 18.
- The age of the host: The law only allows you to sue hosts who are 18 or older. This law can include a friend of the minor, or that friend’s adult parents.
- The host’s conduct: The law holds hosts reliable only if they “willfully” provided alcohol to the minor. For example, you can sue if a host threw a party with minors present, but not if the minor stole alcohol from their liquor cabinet without their knowledge.
- The substance in question: The Social Host Law covers more than just drunk driving. You can also sue hosts who provided illegal drugs such as marijuana to the minor who injured you.
If a host 18 or older willfully served alcohol or illegal drugs to a minor under 18, and that minor went on to injure you, you can sue to hold that host accountable for your injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured or worse in an accident with a drunk driver then it may be appropriate to consider pursuing legal action.
Contact Our Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
The Kankakee drunk driving victim attorneys of Spiros Law, P.C., may be able to help you and your family. To discuss your needs and concerns with us in more detail, and learn about what we may be able to do for you, please contact us today by calling (815) 929-9292.