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Overview of dram shop liability in Illinois

Previous posts on this blog have discussed how the family of a Cook County resident killed in a fatal drunk driving accident can seek compensation from the responsible for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. This is true no matter what the outcome of the drunk driver's criminal case is.

However, families are not limited to suing just the drunk driver, assuming of course the car accident was caused by alcohol. After all, a drunk driver may not have any means of paying the victim's family after a lawsuit and may also not have enough insurance to cover the family's losses.

Fortunately, in the right circumstances, the victim's family can also sue the owner of the bar or restaurant which served the drunk driver alcohol. Under Illinois' dram shop laws, establishments that serve alcohol must not serve someone who has had too much to drink. In fact, if a person who has been drinking at a bar later goes out and causes an accident, the bar or restaurant can be held financially accountable for the loss.

The law limits how much money an injured person can recover from the establishment that sold the alcohol to a drunk driver. Since the late 1990s, this amount gets adjusted for inflation automatically.

Still, since every little bit of money can help put a family back on sound financial footing after losing a loved one to a drunk driving accident. As such, a family should consider whether they want to pursue both the drunk driver which caused the deadly accident and the establishment which served the alcohol to the drunk driver.

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