Dram Shop Laws and Accident Liability

DuPage County personal injury attorneyBeing involved in a drunk driving accident can result in catastrophic injury and even death. It is a horrifying experience that thousands of families go through every year and often leaves victims to deal with long-term injuries and devastating medical costs.

In many cases, the first step in recovering your losses is to sue the drunk driver. However, there are additional parties who may be held at least partially responsible for the accident. Specifically, you can seek recovery from the establishment or individual who served the drunk driver alcohol immediately prior to the accident.

Dram Shop Liability

Illinois law allows you to hold certain individuals or businesses responsible for any resulting damages (i.e. an accident) caused by serving alcohol to an already intoxicated individual. Such action is permitted under the Illinois Liquor Control Act, sometimes referred to as the Dram Shop Act.

Using this cause of action, you can sue a bar or bartender who knowingly served the individual alcohol if they individual was already drunk. This is often the case when a person is at a bar and is continuously served alcohol. A bartender’s job description is to serve drinks to patrons. The law, however, creates a bubble of responsibility: the bar may be held responsible if one of its drunk patrons leaves and injures or kills someone while trying to drive home. The intent of such a law is to not only provide the victims with an additional avenue of recovery but also to encourage businesses to be responsible with how they serve alcohol. Of course, civil lawsuits involving claims under the Dram Shop Act can be complex and contentious. As such, injured parties should be sure to speak to an attorney before making any decisions.

Potential Complications

Suing a bartender or an establishment for violating the Dram Shop Act is rarely easy. In order to collect damages, you will need prove that the establishment or the employee was aware—or should have been aware—that the patron in question was drunk and continued to serve him or her anyway. Such cases may depend heavily on eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence which can lead to an unpredictable outcome.

Can We Help You?

If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to recover for your injuries and losses, not only from the driver but also from those who served the driver alcohol. Contact one of our experienced DuPage Car accident attorneys to discuss your case. We will analyze the facts and help you receive maximum compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and medical costs. Call

Sources:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/circuitcourt/civiljuryinstructions/150.00.pdf

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

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