Driving under the influence is dangerous and irresponsible, but unfortunately it is also common. In 2020, the Illinois Secretary of State ‘s office registered more than 20,000 DUI arrests, of which 86% are first-time violations. Drunk driving can be a costly mistake, but what happens if you have an accident with another drunk driver?
If you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver and were injured in the process, you have legal options to consider. At Staver Personal Injury Lawyers, PC, a Chicago car accident attorney can help.
Defining Drunk Driving in Illinois
Under Illinois law, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is equal to or greater than:
- 0.04% for commercial driving license holders
- .08% for drivers aged 21 and over
- .00% for drivers under 21
Who is to blame for traffic accidents while intoxicated?
In an accident involving a drunk driver, it is easy to attribute the fault to the drunk driver. But if both drivers are drunk, determining liability can be complicated. Three main elements of the error must be proven to the driver:
- Duty of care – all drivers have a duty of care to keep each other safe on the road.
- Violation of this duty of care – driving under the influence can be regarded as dereliction of duty.
- Has caused injury to someone else – for example if you were injured or suffered material damage from driving under the influence of someone else.
However, it is important to note that car accidents can be complex and drunk drivers do not always cause accidents. But adding alcohol to the mix can create more problems for dealing with insurance companies and possible criminal charges.
Illinois Comparative Negligence Laws
Illinois follows the rule of modified comparative negligence as the standard for recovering damages. This means that if you are less than 50% responsible for injury or damage in an accident, you can recover compensation by making a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
When you make a claim with the other driver’s insurance after an accident, the company will investigate what happened and assign you part of the fault. Your auto accident attorney will work for you to minimize your percentage of debt and seek a settlement to cover your damages; if you were drunk during the accident, this battle for guilt can be contentious. Even if both drivers were drunk, it can become clear that one driver played a larger role in causing the accident.
Can I get compensation from the other driver if I was also drunk?
It depends. Under Illinois’ comparative negligence laws, you may be eligible for compensation from the other driver if you are found to be less than 50% responsible for the accident.
Can I face criminal DUI charges?
Even if the other driver were found liable in the accident, both of you could still face criminal charges and penalties for DUI in Illinois.
If you are a first-time DUI offender, you will face a mandatory license suspension of at least one year, up to one year in prison, and a maximum fine of $2,500. Subsequent violations can lead to longer (or even lifelong) license suspensions, mandatory minimum fines, and serious jail time.
You may worry about who will pay your medical bills or vehicle damage after an accident with a drunk driver, but if you were also drunk, you will have to deal with any costs you will incur.
Call Staver for help paying for drunk driving in Illinois
Even if you are unsure of your chances of recovering damages in an accident involving another drunk driver, you should definitely seek the help of a car accident attorney. An experienced attorney can fight to minimize your guilt in the accident and move forward after an accident.
At Staver personal injury lawyers, PC , we can represent you and claim the compensation you may be entitled to for your damages and losses. Our auto accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including: Aurora , Elgin , Hinsdale , Joliet , Naperville , and Waukegan .