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Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Drunk Driving Accident?

Posted on in Wrongful Death

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In 2017 alone, nearly 1,000 people lost their lives in fatal auto accidents in Illinois. Approximately one-third of these collisions involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Throughout the United States, drunk driving is estimated to cause one death every 50 minutes. Losing a loved one because of the reckless actions of an intoxicated driver is a gut-wrenching experience to endure. If you have lost someone you love in a drunk driving (DUI) accident, a wrongful death claim may enable you to recover compensation while holding the responsible party accountable for your tragic loss.

Illinois Wrongful Death Claims
Although no amount of money could ever make up for the death of a spouse, parent, sibling, child, or another relative, a wrongful death claim can help mitigate the negative financial consequences of losing a loved one. Illinois law describes a “wrongful death” as one caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default. Wrongful death claims are brought by a personal representative of the deceased person, often a spouse, adult child, or parent, and damages are paid for the benefit of the deceased person’s surviving spouse and next of kin.

In many personal injury and wrongful death claims, the defendant’s negligence must be established before the injured person or the deceased person’s family can recover compensation. However, a legal theory called “negligence per se” typically applies to wrongful death cases involving a criminal offense such as reckless driving or driving under the influence (DUI). This means that the presumption of negligence is automatically established. According to Illinois Dram Shop liability laws, the restaurant or bar that served the driver alcohol may also be liable for an injury or death caused by drunk driving. If the drunk driver was under the age of 21, the adult who served the minor alcohol may also be a liable party.

Types of Compensation Available
A wrongful death claim can help hold the at-fault party responsible for his or her actions and enable you to recover financial compensation. You may be entitled to compensation for the loss of your loved one’s income and overall financial support. You may also receive compensation for the medical bills incurred between the time of the accident and the time of your loved one’s death. Reimbursement for pain and suffering and the loss of your loved one’s companionship, affection, guidance, or support may also be available.

Contact a Champaign Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident involving a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact a skilled Springfield car accident lawyer from the experienced legal team of Kanoski Bresney to learn more about your legal options. Call our office today at 888-826-8682 to schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation

Sources:
http://www.idot.illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/Transportation-System/Resources/Safety/Crash-Reports/crash-facts/2017%20Crash%20Facts.pdf
https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

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