Can I Sue an Illinois Bar That Served Too Much Alcohol to the Drunk Driver Who Hit Me?
A car accident can have serious consequences, especially when the person who caused the accident was driving while drunk. Physical injury, emotional trauma, vehicle damage, and long-term medical care are all too common after a bad drunk driving incident. Although the drunk driver is often the person facing a lawsuit, the bar at which the driver got drunk may, under certain circumstances, also be held responsible for the accident. If you have suffered personal injury in a car crash caused by someone driving under the influence, an experienced Chicago personal injury can help you take legal action.
What Is Illinois’ Dram Shop Law?
All states have laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors, or so-called “dram shop” laws. Most states, including Illinois, combine these laws with statutes that allow bars, restaurants, and other establishments that serve and sell alcohol to an intoxicated person to be held liable for injuries caused by that person’s actions when they leave the premises.
Each state’s dram shop law is slightly different. In Illinois, the Liquor Control Act or “Dram Shop Act” allows commercial vendors to be held liable for damages or injuries caused by a drunk driver so long as the following criteria are met:
The vendor, such as a bar or restaurant, sold alcohol to the person who caused the injury or damages.
The service of alcohol contributed to or caused the person’s intoxication.
The intoxication was the proximate (direct) cause of the victim’s injuries (for example, if a drunk driver’s intoxication caused them to run a red light and hit another car).
The Liquor Control Act allows bartenders and waiters who served the intoxicated individual to be held liable, as well as the owner, renter, or lessee of the establishment where the alcohol was sold. Likewise, if a clearly intoxicated person walks into a corner store and buys alcohol, the attendant and the corner store owner may be held liable.
Proving Establishment Liability
Bars, restaurants, and other establishments that sell alcohol must do so responsibly. However, to have any liability in a dram shop liability lawsuit, the party bringing the lawsuit must prove that the establishment knew, or should have known, that the drunk person was intoxicated but kept serving them alcohol. Eyewitness testimony may be helpful, as can recordings from the establishment’s security cameras.
Call a Cook County Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been injured because someone got drunk and decided to drive, consider getting help from an experienced Orland Park personal injury attorney with Schwartz Injury Law. We take every case seriously and are committed to aggressively representing our clients so they can get any compensation to which they are legally entitled. Call us today at 708-888-2160 to schedule your free confidential consultation.