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Field sobriety test results may help impose liability

This time of year, many Illinois residents partake in alcoholic beverages, often as part of a social gathering. Although this can be done responsibly, some in the Chicago-area, and throughout Illinois, choose to drive after drinking. These individuals may think that they aren't intoxicated, or they might erroneously think that drinking makes them a better driver because they are more attentive, but this is far from the truth. The fact remains that these drunk drivers can cause devastating accidents that leave victims with extensive damages.

Victims who suffer serious injuries may want to pursue legal action in hopes of recovering compensation for their losses. In order to succeed on these claims, though, victims must prove that the defendant was negligent, and that negligence caused the accident and their injuries. In a case of drunk driving, this may mean showing intoxication.

There are many ways to illustrate that a driver was intoxicated at the time of an accident. Blood testing is the most reliable, but there are other means to proving intoxication. Field sobriety tests may also come into play. One of these tests is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. During this test, a police officer analyzes an individual's eyes as they move from side-to-side, following an object about a foot in front of them. Most often, this object is a pen or a police officer's finger. An officer looks for any involuntary jerking of the eyes prior to reaching a 45 degree angle, any inability to smoothly follow the object and eye jerking within four seconds of looking fully to the side.

Those who have suffered harm at the hands of a drunk driver may need to prove intoxication at trial. When this becomes a necessary course of action, it may be helpful to have an experienced attorney by ones side who can help a victim get crucial evidence admitted. Therefore, when pursuing compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and other damages, Illinois drunk driving accident victims may want to seek counsel from a legal professional.

Source: nhtsa.gov, "The Robustness of the horizontal Gaze Nystagmus," accessed on Dec. 23, 2016

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