Can I Sue the Bar for a Drunk Driver’s Negligence?

August 29, 2021


Brent Eames

If you were injured in a car accident, you may be feeling confused and unsure of your next steps. Who is responsible for the pain and suffering? Who will pay for your medical bills? These questions can be complicated, and they can be even more complex when a drunk driver is involved. As a top Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer, we are often asked whether our clients are able to bring a lawsuit in Illinois against the bar which sold a drunk driver the booze prior to that person causing the car accident. In these situations, often times, a case can and should be brought against a bar. Keep reading to learn more.

Drunk drivers contribute to a very high percentage of serious car accidents across Illinois. According to the Secretary of State, in 2019:

276 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, which was approximately 27
percent of the 1,009 total crash fatalities.
• 26,224 DUI arrests were recorded by the Secretary of State’s office.
• 289 drivers under age 21 lost their driving privileges due to Zero Tolerance law
• 26 percent of those arrested for DUI were women, who represented 50 percent
of all licensed drivers.
• Males ages 21-24 had the highest DUI arrest rate (about 9 per 1,000 licensed
• 86 percent of all drivers arrested for DUI are first offenders.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you certainly will have a claim against the drunk driver personally. However, if you have any information that the drunk driver was sold or given alcohol at any bar, tavern, restaurant, nightclub, or other establishment with a liquor license, then you should immediately contact experienced personal injury attorney Brent Eames to investigate the incident to confirm whether a case can be brought against one or more of these establishments. In Illinois, these businesses are subject to the Dram Shop Act, which provides that every person who is injured in Illinois by any intoxicated person has a right of action against any licensed entity who, by selling or giving alcoholic liquor, within or without the territorial limits of this State, causes the intoxication of such person. These recoveries are capped, and the law establishes that the maximum recovery is set every year by the Illinois Comptroller in accordance with the consumer price index-u (CPI-U) during the preceding 12-month calendar year. In 2020, the cap for a case under the Dram Shop Act is $71,696.18 for each person incurring damages.

A Dram Shop settlement can be a great avenue for recovery if you have been injured by a drunk driver as a result of a car accident, or a battery.  If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you should contact our experienced Chicago car accident attorney, Brent Eames, to discuss your options as soon as possible. Our law firm has an aggressive reputation of winning lawsuits against bars for injuries caused by drunk drivers.  It is important to contact the top Chicago personal injury attorney as soon as possible, because cases under the Dram Shop Act carry a one-year statute of limitations, and if a lawsuit is not filed within one year, the cause of action accrued shall be barred.

Now that you’ve seen an in-depth answer to your question of “Can I Sue the Bar for a Drunk Driver’s Negligence?”, it’s time to put this knowledge to good use. Contact a Chicago car accident attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd. for a free consultation. For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.

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