Although the legal consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants in Illinois can be serious, drunk driving remains a problem. Nationwide, about one-third of traffic fatalities arise from drunk driving accidents. Young people under age 24, people with a record of DUIs and motorcyclists represent the groups facing the greatest risk of dying in a drunk driving crash.

Multiple factors converge to heighten the hazards for young adults. Their age means that they have yet to gain substantial driving experience. They travel in groups more often than other age groups, which means drivers have more sources of distraction inside their vehicles.

When intoxication leads to an accident, the injuries can be life threatening. People suffer head trauma caused by impacts with the steering wheel, dashboard or flying debris. Blunt forces and sharp pieces of glass can smash or pierce organs and produce severe blood loss. Hypovolemic shock, which happens when the body loses so much blood that the heart struggles to pump, can kill people before emergency medical technicians arrive.

In addition to being injured in accidents themselves, drunk drivers sometimes injure other people. A person catastrophically injured by an intoxicated driver might pursue damages in a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence. An attorney familiar with the laws that oversee car accident damages may be able to assist a person coping with difficult injuries. An attorney may gather evidence from a police report and hire an investigator to gain testimony related to the other party’s reckless behavior. Discussions with an insurance company led by an attorney might result in an acceptable settlement. If a case needs to advance to a court trial, an attorney may be able to present the information about the victim’s medical expenses and lost income to a jury.