In 2007, Lisa M. Lilly’s parents were crossing the street and were hit by an intoxicated driver. Her mother died at the scene, and her father died six and a half weeks later after two emergency surgeries and a long struggle to recover. The driver was sentenced to twelve years in prison.
Having experienced firsthand the devastation intoxicated drivers cause, Lisa is dedicated to helping others who have suffered similar losses and working to prevent further DUI-related deaths and injuries in Illinois. If you’ve been injured by, or lost someone you love because of, a drunk driver, the information below may be helpful.
Please feel free to call or e-mail Lisa with questions, for help finding resources, or simply to share your experiences. You can also visit Lisa’s blog regarding living with similar losses at: http://lossdui.blogspot.com/
Information for Victims about Criminal Proceedings Against DUI Drivers
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime. Therefore, the police and/or the state prosecuting attorney may contact you or your lawyer.
- If the alleged drunk driver is arrested, you are entitled to attend the court proceedings.
- Criminal cases can take months or years to resolve. The process can be very frustrating, disturbing and draining emotionally for drunk driving victims.
- The criminal penalties may vary depending upon the severity of the victim’s injuries. Always keep the prosecutor informed of your or your loved one’s medical progress.
- Let the prosecutor’s office know if you move or change your phone number or e-mail address.
- You may write (or be asked to write) a victim impact statement explaining how the crime affected your life. If there is a trial or sentencing hearing, you or the prosecutor may read the statement in court.
How AAIM (the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists) Can Help You
Nothing can change what happened, but support from others can make a huge difference. The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists offers a support group in the Chicago area that can help you cope with depression, anger, grief and anxiety following the crash.
AAIM also provides victim advocates in the northern Illinois area who will attend criminal court proceedings with you. If you cannot attend court, your AAIM advocate can attend for you and keep you up-to-date. The AAIM advocate cannot give legal advice, but he or she can answer questions and serve as a liaison between you and the prosecutor. AAIM can help you prepare your victim impact statement and give you samples of other victims’ statements.
Recovering Compensation for Injuries
Medical bills, funeral bills or the loss of wages could cause serious financial difficulties for you and your loved ones. You may be able to obtain compensation through the Crime Victims Compensation Program. You can find more information about this, and an application, on the Illinois Attorney General’s web site.
You may be entitled to recover from the driver or the owner of the vehicle, or from the place where the driver was drinking. Your ability to recover will depend upon many things, like whether any of those people or companies have insurance and what other assets they have. Illinois law also sets certain limits on recovery from businesses that serve alcohol.
Sometimes insurance carriers mistakenly deny claims based on DUI incidents when coverage actually exists. Just because you receive a denial of your claim does not necessarily mean you are not entitled to recover.
If the DUI driver and the vehicle’s owner have no insurance, or insufficient insurance to cover your damages, you may be entitled to recover from your own automobile insurance carrier if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Your automobile insurance policy also may include some coverage for medical bills or funeral expenses. These types of coverage may apply even if the injured person or your deceased loved one was a passenger in someone else’s car or a pedestrian.
An attorney can help you determine if you are entitled to compensation under your own automobile insurance policy, under other policies, or from other sources, and can help drunk driving victims contest a denial of benefits.
Contact Lisa Today
For a free initial telephone consultation with Lisa M. Lilly regarding any of these issues, call 312-781-2100 or contact her office online today.