There is nothing better than meeting a bunch of friends at a local pub and knocking back a few cold ones while watching the latest game on television. This behavior, however, may create liability for the establishment that served the alcoholic beverages if a person intoxicated from their establishment injures another as a result.

Many states have dram shop (laws regulating establishments that sell liquor) acts. In Illinois, the Liquor Control Act creates a cause of action against owners or lessors of premises where liquor is being sold for personal injuries of any accidents resulting from the actions of an intoxicated patron. There are three types of people the statute is intended to reach:

  1. Those who are licensed under the laws of Illinois or any other state in the sale of liquor. People in other states with sufficient minimum contacts in Illinois may be liable under the statute.
  2. Persons twenty-one years or older who pay for a hotel room where those under twenty-one years of age will be staying. They will be liable for any injuries caused by their intoxicated minors.
  3. Owners, lessors, or anyone who otherwise permits the sale of alcohol on their premises.

This Act is only intended for third parties; an intoxicated person would not be able to recover under this Act for injuries sustained as a result of being intoxicated.

An injured third party plaintiff must prove:

  1. The alleged intoxicated person was intoxicated when the plaintiff was injured;
  2. The defendant gave or sold intoxicating alcohol to the intoxicated individual;
  3. That liquor was the cause of the intoxication. The amount of liquor given must have been more than a nominal amount. A person is considered “intoxicated” when, as a result of drinking the liquor, an impairment of mental and physical capacity occurs such that one cannot think and act with ordinary care.
  4. The intoxication of the person was at least one cause of the incident;
  5. The plaintiff suffered an injury to person or property as a result of the incident by the intoxicated person.

Dram shop liability in Illinois is a strict liability offense and, as such, there is no contributory negligence available. If it is found that the plaintiff contributed in any way to the intoxication of the defendant, the plaintiff will be precluded from recovering.

The statute of limitation for dram shop liability is one year from the date of the offense and there is no tolling for minors.

Damages in dram shop suits are limited by statute. The limits are now tied to the consumer price index, so the limits for bodily injury and property damage may rise or fall. It is best to see an attorney immediately after you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of the intoxication of another.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. In considering the statute of limitation this firm is not giving an opinion on when the statute of limitation expires. The statute of limitation requires a claimant to file a lawsuit by a certain date. Failure to file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitation bars a claimant from filing a claim and from being compensated. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured by someone who was drinking, please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.