Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (including some prescription or over-the-counter medications) is a criminal offense in Illinois and is a major cause of car accident injuries and deaths that is entirely preventable. Despite being a crime and despite the known statistics regarding DUI injuries and deaths, unfortunately, people still get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated, putting other sober, law-abiding drivers at risk of getting into serious, potentially fatal car accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, in 2011 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 279 people were killed in Illinois in DUI accidents.
In the event that a person is injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the accident victim can pursue a lawsuit to seek compensation for his injuries, property damage, medical bills, lost wages and mental anguish from the drunk driver. In some cases, DUI accident victims may also be able to sue the owner of the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the drunk driver, as long as the circumstances of the case comply with the Illinois dram shop act.
Illinois Dram Shop Act – Liability for Over Serving Alcohol
Dram shop laws are statutes that impose liability on establishments or venues serving alcohol to the public, with the term dram shop being an antiquated term used to refer to bars, taverns or other establishments where alcohol is sold and served to the public. In Illinois, a dram shop act is in place to “place responsibility for damages caused by intoxicants on those who profit from the sale of alcohol… [and] to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people from the dangers of traffic in liquor.” Under the specific terms of the Illinois dram shop act, a DUI accident victim can hold a liquor-serving establishment liable for his injuries and losses as long has be can prove that:
- The establishment sold or provided liquor to the driver
- This sale or provision or alcohol to the driver was the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries
- The driver’s intoxication was among the specific causes of the victim’s injuries, losses and damages.
At the law firm of Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C., our experienced Mount Vernon car accident lawyers have been providing client-centered representation to our Southern Illinois clients since 1950. Our trusted attorneys focus on our clients’ needs, and we do everything we can to help them get the maximum possible compensation for their injuries so they can focus on recovery and moving on with their life. If you or a loved one has sustained any type of injury due to a DUI drunk driving accident, contact us by calling (800)-553-3125 for a free, thorough assessment of your case, along with professional advice regarding the best manner in which to move forward.