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The Drunk Driver May Not Be the Only One Responsible for Your Loved One’s Death

The dram shop law can hold taverns responsible for drunk driving tragedies.You have no doubt that the drunk driver who killed your loved one is responsible for her death. The driver willingly and knowingly drank and got behind the wheel of a car. He caused the accident that resulted in your loved one’s death and you support any criminal and civil legal proceedings that would hold him accountable for the tragedy he has caused.

But You Can’t Stop Thinking About the Bar

As you lay awake at night and consider how your loved one’s life may have been spared if things happened just a little differently, your thoughts keep returning to the bar where the driver was drinking prior to the accident. Why didn’t the bartender cut him off? Could he also be responsible for your loved one’s death?

According to the Illinois Dram Shop Law, you may have a claim against the bar because the bar provided the alcohol that caused the driver to become intoxicated. While some states require that the survivors of a drunk driving accident prove that the bartender, or others, knew the driver was intoxicated, the Illinois law does not require signs of visible intoxication in order to hold the bar liable. Instead, you will need to prove that:

  • The person who killed your loved one was intoxicated.
  • That person was intoxicated because of alcohol sold to him by the bar.
  • It was the intoxication, and not some other form of negligence, that caused the accident and your loved one’s death.

Holding the bar responsible in no way lets the drunk driver off the hook. He may still be found liable for his actions. However, it may help your family recover damages and it may send a valuable message to other Illinois bars.

Accordingly, we encourage you to think about everyone who had a part in the accident that killed your loved one and to hold everyone responsible accountable for their actions.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham

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