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Dram Shop Laws and Drunk Driver Liability

Posted on in Drunk Driving Accidents

IL DUI lawyerYou probably already know that drunk drivers can be held liable for the harm they cause after an accident. Pursuing compensation from the drunk driver’s insurance company or the drunk driver personally is always an option after a DUI crash. However, you may have another option. Illinois has what are called “dram shop laws.” “Dram shop” is an outdated term for any establishment that serves alcohol on the premises, like bars and clubs. Under dram shop laws, you may be able to pursue compensation from the establishment that served the drunk driver who hit you. These laws are on the books both to hold drinking establishments responsible for overserving people who then go on to injure others due to their intoxication, and also to provide the victims of drunk drivers with an additional source of potential compensation. An attorney can help you understand how dram shop laws may impact your case.

What do Illinois’ Dram Shop Laws Say?

Generally, dram shops laws state that if an establishment serves alcohol to an individual who then goes on to hurt others due to his intoxication, the establishment can be held liable. To recover compensation from a drinking establishment, you will need to prove a few things. First, you must be able to show that the establishment sold or served alcohol to the drunk driver. This can be established by witness testimony, or by proof of a transaction.

Showing that the alcohol the defendant was served caused him to become intoxicated can be a little trickier. The bar may try to argue that the defendant kept drinking after he left, or did not drink enough there to become intoxicated. Witness testimony may play a major role.

Then, you need to demonstrate that the defendant was drunk when he caused your accident. It is very helpful if the drunk driver was arrested at the scene for DUI, but criminal prosecution is not necessary. You may be able to establish that the driver was drunk through other means. Cameras are everywhere, and if a nearby traffic or security camera shows the defendant stumbling or behaving erratically, this can help a lot.

Showing that the defendant’s intoxication caused the crash that injured you is the final fact you will need to prove. This may involve an analysis of the accident to show that it probably would not have happened if the driver had been sober.

If these facts can be shown, then you may be entitled to recover compensation from the “dram shop” that got the drunk driver drunk.

Contact a Lake County Dram Shop Liability Lawyer

If you were injured by a drunk driver, Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. may be able to recover compensation on your behalf. Our experienced Waukegan dram shop liability attorneys will pursue damages from all potentially liable parties. Call us at 847-662-3303 for a free consultation.




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