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Can a Bar or Restaurant Be Held Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?

Posted on in Car Accidents

Decatur, IL drunk driving injury lawyer for dram shop liabilityDrunk driving presents a serious risk to everyone who uses the roads. Drivers who are intoxicated experience significant impairments to their ability to drive safely. These include vision problems that affect their ability to see other vehicles or people on the road, balance and coordination issues that affect their ability to control their vehicle, and delayed reaction times that may cause them to be unable to respond in time to avoid colliding with a vehicle or pedestrian. Since driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a form of driver negligence, those who have been involved in drunk driving accidents can usually hold a drunk driver liable for their injuries and damages. However, the laws in Illinois also allow an injury victim to take legal action against an establishment that sold or served alcohol to a drunk driver.

Dram Shop Liability in Illinois

Establishments that sell alcohol are sometimes referred to as “dram shops” because alcohol used to be sold in units known as “drams.” The Illinois Dram Shop Act states that if someone who was intoxicated caused injuries to someone else, the establishment that sold or served alcohol to the intoxicated person may be held liable for the victim’s injuries. That is, if a bar, restaurant, or liquor store provided alcohol that caused someone to become intoxicated, and the person went on to injure someone else, the victim can pursue compensation from the establishment.

To successfully recover compensation from an establishment, the plaintiff in a lawsuit must show the following:

  1. The person who caused the injury was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

  2. The establishment provided alcohol to the intoxicated person.

  3. The alcohol provided by the establishment caused the person to become intoxicated.

  4. The person’s intoxication was at least one reason why the accident occurred.

  5. The plaintiff suffered injuries or other damages in the accident.

The Dram Shop Act set limits for the amount that can be recovered from an establishment, and these limits are increased every year based on the Consumer Price Index. As of January 20, 2021, the maximum amount that can be recovered for injuries to a person or damage to their property is $72,671.25. The maximum amount that can be recovered for loss of society (that is, the loss of love, care, comfort, companionship, and guidance provided by a person to their family members) or loss of means of support (that is, the loss of the ability to earn money to provide necessities and comfort to family members) is $88,820.41.

Contact Our Champaign Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, the attorneys of Kanoski Bresney can help you determine whether you can pursue compensation from the driver or the establishment that provided them with alcohol. Contact our Springfield drunk driving accident lawyers by calling 888-826-8682 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-21

https://courts.illinois.gov/court/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/150.00.pdf

https://www2.illinois.gov/ilcc/News/Pages/2018-Dram-Shop-Liability-Limits.aspx

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