Court Holds Plaintiff May Sue Bar, Even Without Personal Knowledge of Incident

In a case that was decided earlier this year, a man was killed after he became intoxicated at a restaurant and got into a car accident. The man was driving 79 miles per hour in a 30-miles-per-hour zone when he crashed his car. After the accident, the man’s family brought suit against the restaurant, alleging that the restaurant engaged in negligent, willful, wanton, and reckless conduct by selling and serving alcohol to the man, and that their conduct caused his death. That evening, the man had been at the restaurant from about 2 PM until almost 9 PM. Witnesses observed him being loud and slurring his words. He bought 12 drinks at the restaurant that day.

Liquor BottlesThe plaintiff, a representative of the man’s estate, filed a complaint and an affidavit, as required by the state’s law. The affidavit had to describe the facts upon which the case was based, and the plaintiff based it on information gathered in the investigation. The defendants argued that the affidavit was insufficient because it was not based on personal knowledge. The plaintiff, the administrator of the man’s estate, was not present at any time during the incident. However, the court found that the plaintiff’s affidavit was based upon “information and belief” from information gathered from witness statements, a police report, and a toxicology report—and that this knowledge was sufficient.

Illinois Dram Shop Laws

Dram shop laws permit individuals to hold a restaurant or bar liable for injuries and damages caused by a patron who becomes intoxicated while being served alcohol at the bar or restaurant. Illinois’s first Dram Shop Act was enacted in 1872, but there have been several reenactments and modifications since then. Illinois’s Dram Shop Act allows individuals who have been injured by an intoxicated person to bring a claim against any party that is licensed to sell alcohol and that causes the person to be intoxicated.

A plaintiff has to prove that the person’s intoxication was caused by alcohol provided by the defendant. The person also had to have been served more than a negligible amount of alcohol. In addition, a plaintiff must prove that the injury was caused by the intoxicated person. More than one “dram shop,” or alcohol provider, can cause someone to be intoxicated, and both can be potential defendants.

Have You Been Injured by an Intoxicated Person?

If you or a loved one has been injured by an intoxicated person, you may be able to bring a claim against the person or business that provided the person with alcohol. However, Dram Shop Act claims require a thorough investigation, and it is essential to have a dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled attorney in your corner. The Illinois personal injury attorneys at Moll Law Group have significant experience bringing many different types of personal injury cases, including those involving drunk driving. Fill out our online form or call 312-462-1200 to set up a free consultation.

See More Posts:

Recent Study Highlights Risks of Emergency Surgeries, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, May 18, 2016.

Evidence of Lack of Insurance Determined Irrelevant in Car Accident Claim, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2016.

Woman Injured by Hot Air Balloon While Standing in Line Permitted to Sue Despite Signed Waiver, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, May 11, 2016.