Drunk drivers who cause car accidents often leave behind victims whose injuries are severe, permanently disabling, and even fatal in some cases. These wholly preventable accidents usually result from individuals who make decisions that exhibit total disregard for the safety of others.
All drivers have a duty to act in a way that is reasonably safe for others under the circumstances. When individuals choose to drink and drive, it is reasonably foreseeable that an accident causing injuries may occur.
If you or a family member have suffered serious injuries in a drunk driving accident, an Orland Park drunk driving car accident lawyer may be able to help you determine if you have a valid claim for compensation. A seasoned attorney may be of assistance in holding these individuals responsible for their actions.
Even if individuals who are involved in a car accident do not believe they are severely injured, they should still seek medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent and taking this initial step can help protect important rights if they later discover an injury related to the crash.
Accident victims also should ask a friend or family member to help document the accident scene through pictures and contemporaneous notes. The weather, road conditions, time of day or night, the positions of the vehicles in the roadway, and other factors can all constitute evidence in support of a personal injury claim. An experienced Orland Park drunk driving car accident lawyer may be able to assist in gathering this type of evidence.
Finally, injury victims should refrain from discussing the accident with anyone other than law enforcement officers. Statements made by injury victims to other potential parties to a lawsuit or to their insurance company can be easily misconstrued. Victims may inadvertently give others information that hurts their claims for compensation or seems to contradict their version of events.
Criminal charges for drunk driving certainly can be evidence in support of holding drivers civilly liable for the accidents that they caused. However, a criminal charge is not a criminal conviction and not an automatic finding of civil liability. Many factors can impact the ability of the prosecution to successfully get a conviction in a criminal case, including police procedures at the time of the arrest, breathalyzer test results, and sobriety test results.
All states set time limits for the filing of personal injury lawsuits. These deadlines, or statutes of limitations, govern how long injury victims have to file claims against any parties who may be responsible for their injuries. Under 735 ILCS §5/13-204, injury victims in Orland Park must file their personal injury claims for compensation within two years of the date that the accident occurred or settle the claim out of court.
While there are a few exceptions to this general rule, injury victims must be aware of this important deadline and take steps to meet it. Otherwise, they may be unable to bring any claims against the responsible parties, no matter how severe their injuries may be or how obviously liable the other parties may be. An Orland Park drunk driving car accident lawyer should be well-aware of the relevant statute of limitations for an individual case and could work to ensure a prospective plaintiff meets this deadline.
Following a drunk driving car accident, it is generally best for you to focus on healing, getting back to work, and adapting to the changes in your life that the accident may have caused. However, while personal injury claims and finances may not be the first thing on your mind, the realities of an inability to work and high medical bills are likely to bring financial concerns quickly to the forefront.
An Orland Park drunk driving car accident lawyer may be able to help address those concerns by assessing your eligibility to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Working to recover from a drunk driving car accident is not an easy task, but a skilled personal injury attorney may be able to provide you with some of the support that you need. Call today to learn about your options for pursuing a claim for damages.