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Can I Sue the Bar After a Drunk Driving Accident?

 Posted on July 10, 2024 in Accident Liability

Waukegan, IL personal injury lawyerIt is public knowledge that drunk driving is a deadly act that causes severe injuries and fatalities. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of car deaths in Illinois involve alcohol. But in addition to being dangerous, drunk driving is also an irresponsible act. Drivers who get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol are aware of the risks of driving under the influence.

Under Illinois law, the same may be said of whoever gave the driver the alcohol. A bar that serves alcohol is presumed to be aware of the risks that can arise from doing so, like drunk driving. Therefore, Illinois has "dram shop" laws that sometimes hold a bar liable for damages caused by a drunk driver. This article will discuss dram shop laws and when they apply. Contact an Illinois drunk driving accident attorney right away if you or someone you know has been injured by a drunk driver.

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

The term "dram shop" refers to a bar or any establishment that is licensed to serve alcohol. It is so named after the measurement of whiskey called a "dram."

Illinois’ Dram Shop Act, also known as the Liquor Control Act of 1934, says that a bar, restaurant, or other facility that serves alcohol can be liable for damages their patrons cause if:

  • The establishment continued serving alcohol to a patron who was visibly intoxicated.

  • The patron caused an injury.

  • The injury was caused by the patron’s drunkenness.

If all of the above is true, then the establishment may be liable to pay you compensation for the damages you sustained as a result of its patron’s drunken behavior.

How Much Can I Claim?

If you decide to bring a claim for damages against the establishment, the amount of compensation you collect will depend on several factors, such as:

  • The competence of your attorney

  • The amount and strength of your evidence

  • The extent of your injury and damages

  • The amount of negligence on your part

In addition to this, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission places caps on how much money you can claim, called dram shop liability limits. The Liquor Control Commission has set a dram shop liability limit of $85,578.54 on personal injury claims brought under the Dram Shop Act after January 20, 2024. There is also a dram shop liability limit on the following damages:

  • Loss of means of support, which is when a victim either dies or is too disabled to provide for his or her family

  • Loss of society, which is the loss of companionship the family suffers if the victim dies or is no longer available as he or she once was

For those damages, you can collect up to $104,595.99, according to the dram shop liability limit set by the Liquor Control Commission.

It is important to note, however, that this is not the overall limit placed on damages that can be recovered during a drunk driving accident. You may also file a lawsuit or insurance claim against the driver, which, depending on your injuries, may result in much higher compensation. 

Contact a Waukegan, IL Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

At Salvi & Maher, LLP, our attorneys are highly experienced in dram shop laws and drunk driving accidents. We have successfully recovered over $300 million for personal injury victims and have over 85 years of combined legal experience. Let us help you collect the maximum compensation possible for your injury. Call 847-662-3303 now to speak with a Lake County, IL drunk driving accident lawyer. Spanish and Korean speakers are available.

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Contact a Lake County Vehicle Accident Attorney Who is Ready to Help You

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact our office. Call 847-662-3303 to set up a free initial consultation at one of our four convenient locations. There is no risk because we only collect fees if you collect compensation. With offices in Libertyville, Waukegan, Richmond, and Chicago, we represent clients in Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County, and McHenry County.

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