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IL injury lawyerDrunk driving accidents often result in catastrophic consequences. If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a car accident caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol, you may be exploring your opportunities for financial compensation. You may already know that you have the option of bringing a claim against the at-fault driver. However, you may not be aware of an Illinois law that allows an injured person to bring a personal injury claim against a bar or restaurant. Under Illinois dram shop liability laws, you may be able to recover compensation by suing the establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol.

Illinois Dram Shop Liability Laws

Illinois’ Dram Shop Act, also called the Liquor Control Act, allows a person injured by the actions of an inebriated person to bring a claim for damages against the bar, restaurant, or other establishment that served the intoxicated person alcohol. To bring a claim under dram shop laws, you and your attorney will need to prove that:

  • The establishment sold alcohol to the at-fault driver and the driver consumed it.
  • The alcohol provided by the establishment was the cause of the driver’s intoxication.
  • The driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
  • The injuries you sustained were caused by the driver’s intoxication.
  • You sustained damages as a result of the accident such as property damage, medical bills, or lost wages.

Personal injury claims brought under dram shop laws are most likely to be successful if it can be demonstrated that the establishment knew or should have known that the driver was already intoxicated when he or she was served alcohol.

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Waukegan drunk driving accident attorneysDriving under the influence of alcohol is against the law in all 50 U.S. states, but, unfortunately, many people choose to drive while intoxicated anyway. Sadly, nearly 30 people die every day in the U.S. in alcohol-related traffic accidents and many more are seriously injured. If you have been injured or you have lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you explore your options for compensation.  

When is an Intoxicated Driver At-Fault for an Accident?

The majority of personal injury claims involve a party who was negligent or reckless in some way. It is typically up to the claimant and his or her attorney to prove that the responsible party’s negligence caused the claimant’s damages. However, in most drunk driving accidents, the intoxicated driver faces criminal DUI charges and could be presumed to have been negligent. If the person who hit you was arrested, charged with, and convicted of DUI, the presumption is created that the driver was acting negligently. You will only need to prove that he or she violated a public safety statute that is intended to protect you and that this violation caused your injuries. It is important to note that a successful personal injury claim is still possible even if the driver was not formally charged with driving under the influence.

What Types of Damages Can I Collect?

The term “damages” is used to describe the compensation awarded to injured people and their families in a personal injury case. If you were seriously hurt in a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your emergency room/hospital bills, ongoing and future medical treatment, lost income, reduced employability, pain and suffering, and more. If you have lost a loved one in a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver, you may be able to receive compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, pain and suffering, as well as compensation for your own losses.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_st-patricks-day-drunk-driving-dangers.jpgIn just over two weeks, thousands of Illinois residents will flock to pubs and bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, some of these revelers will inevitably choose to drive home under the influence of alcohol. Because St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking days of the year in many communities, it is also one of the most dangerous days to be on the road. Sadly, it is estimated that a person loses his or her life in an alcohol-related car accident every 37 minutes on St. Patrick’s Day and countless more are injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds St. Patrick’s Day partiers to arrange for a designated driver, taxi, rideshare, or other safe means of transportation if they plan on drinking.

Personal Injury Claims Against a Drunk Driver

People involved in drunk driving accidents may suffer broken bones, spine and neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, and more. These injuries can leave a person with enormous hospital bills and ongoing medical costs. The injured person may even be permanently disabled and never regain the quality of life he or she had before the accident. When a drunk driver causes an accident and someone is hurt or killed, a personal injury claim may help the injured person or surviving loved ones collect compensation for their damages. Civil claims for damages can be brought in concurrence with criminal DUI charges.

Dram Shop Liability Laws in Illinois

Illinois law also allows a person hurt in a drunk driving accident to pursue a claim against the bar or other establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol. Successful dram shop liability claims can be difficult to achieve, but they are possible. Four main conditions must be present in order for an injured person to receive compensation through a dram shop claim:

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Lake County personal injury attorneysThe vast majority of personal injury cases revolve around the concept of negligence. The term "negligence" refers to a party’s failure to act with an appropriate level of care. Anyone driving on public roads has a duty to drive responsibility and avoid injuring other drivers or pedestrians. An individual who drives with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more is breaking the law by driving under the influence (DUI). If a drunk driver causes an accident in which someone was injured or killed, the driver can be considered “negligent per se” and held legally responsible for the damages caused by the accident.

Understanding Negligence Per Se

In a typical personal injury claim, the injured individual and his or her legal counsel have the burden of proving how the defendant’s actions or inactions caused the injury. Generally, to win a personal injury case, the plaintiff must show:

  • The defendant had a “duty of care” to the injured person.
  • The defendant failed to uphold the duty of care.
  • The plaintiff was injured.
  • The plaintiff’s injury was caused by the defendant’s failure to uphold his or her duty.

Personal injury claims involving illegal actions like driving under the influence of alcohol are slightly different. “Negligence per se” refers to actions which are negligent because they break the law. If you bring a personal injury claim under the umbrella of negligence per se, you must only prove that that defendant broke the law and that the violation of the law caused your injury. Under the doctrine of negligence per se, a defendant is considered negligent if the following elements are present:

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Drunk Drivers Continue to Cause Car Accidents on Illinois Roads

Chicago drunk driving car accident attorneyRecently, a man was charged with a DUI after his involvement in a fatal three-vehicle crash in Schaumburg. Emergency personnel were called to the scene shortly after the accident, and one of the vehicle drivers passed away from injuries hours after the collision. The 25-year-old man was charged with the DUI, and he was allegedly driving under the influence of illegal drugs when he collided with two different vehicles before driving into a field off of East Schaumburg Avenue.  

The tragedy marks just the latest motor vehicle accident involving drugs or alcohol in the greater Chicago area. If you or your family are impacted by the negligent and reckless actions of a drunk driver, finding proper legal representation can help you obtain the legal guidance and financial compensation you deserve. 

DUI Statistics Throughout Illinois

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