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The Basics of Illinois Dram Shop Claims

Posted on in Personal Injury

Winnebago County personal injury attorneyMost personal injury lawsuits are brought against an individual whose negligent or intentional wrongdoing caused another person injury or death. For example, if a driver who is too busy texting and driving to watch the road causes an accident, a person injured in the accident may sue the driver. Many personal injury lawsuits involve drunk drivers. An individual who is driving under the influence of alcohol and gets in a car crash may be held liable for damages caused by the accident.  However, you may be surprised to learn that a personal injury claim can also be brought against a vendor who sold alcohol to an individual who causes you injury. These claims are called “dram shop liability” claims.

Illinois Law Regarding Dram Shop Liability

Illinois statute allows a person injured by someone under the influence of alcohol to bring a claim against the vendor who supplied the intoxicated person alcohol. The claim may be in response to personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage. 

Consider the following example: A man visits a bar where he consumes several alcoholic drinks. His blood alcohol is over the legal limit but he decides to drive home anyway. On the way home, he crashes into another vehicle causing the other driver to suffer several major injuries as well as substantial vehicle damage. The driver injured in the crash may sue the drunk driver himself or the bar that supplied the man with alcohol. A bar, restaurant, or other establishment that serves alcohol does not have to continue to serve a patron past the point of intoxication in order to be potentially liable under Illinois dram shop liability laws. For a dram shop claim to be successful, the following conditions must be present:

  • The individual who caused the injury was intoxicated when the injury occurred.
  • The defendant provided alcohol to the intoxicated individual and he or she consumed it.
  • The alcohol provided was the source of the individual’s intoxication.
  • The injuries caused were at least partially caused by the intoxication.
  • The injured person sustained personal injuries or property damage as a result.

Illinois dram shop laws only apply to licensed alcohol vendors such as bars and restaurants. An individual who provides alcohol at a party at his or her home, for example, cannot be found liable under Illinois dram shop liability laws. However, Illinois’s social host liability laws do allow an injured person to sue for damages if the intoxicated person was underage. The Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act states that an adult who knowingly provides alcohol or drugs to a minor and causes the minor’s impairment “shall be liable for death or injuries to persons or property caused by the impairment of such person.”

Contact a Rockford Dram Shop Liability Lawyer

To learn more about your legal options following an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, contact Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Winnebago personal injury attorney by calling us at 815-215-7561 today.





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