Despite decades of increased enforcement, harsher penalties and public awareness campaigns, drunk driving continues to be a serious hazard on Illinois roadways. Statistics indicate the problem may have even grown worse in recent years.
The Illinois Department of Transportation keeps extensive records of motor vehicle accidents in the state and divides them in five-year chunks to look for evidence of trends. The agency's most recent trend reports look at the years 2013-2017, where it found a spike in alcohol-related fatal crashes. According to the DOT, the number of fatal crashes attributed to alcohol rose 9.5% in 2017 compared to the average of the four previous years. Fatal injuries rose more than 11% in 2017.
Cook County had by far the highest number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2017, with 94. The second deadliest county in the report, Will County, had just 19.
People who have been injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver can hold the driver liable for their damages, including pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. In cases involving fatal accidents, the victim's survivors may make a wrongful death claim to hold the driver liable for their damages, which can include loss of companionship, loss of income and more.
The damages the injured and their families suffer after an accident can be enormous, and can change their lives forever. A lawsuit can help them cope with the long aftermath of an accident, and it can also help hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. In so doing, a lawsuit can also encourage other drivers to be more careful in the future.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help the injured or their families to understand their options for recovering compensation, work with them to develop a strategy and argue on their behalf in court or in negotiations.