Can I Sue a Bar or Restaurant for Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Web Admin - Thursday, April 18, 2019
Des Plaines drunk driving accident attorneyWhen a drunk driver seriously injures another person, the injured person can sue the drunk driver for compensation under Illinois’ personal injury laws. If the at-fault driver became intoxicated in a bar, the injured person may also sue the owner of that bar under state liquor liability laws, also known as dram shop laws. 

What Are Dram Shop Laws?

When a bar serves enough liquor to a patron to cause their intoxication, dram shop laws make the bar owner strictly liable to any person injured by the intoxicated patron. 

What Is the Illinois Liquor Liability Law?

Illinois is one of 38 U.S. states with dram shop laws. The Illinois Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/6-21) states that anyone who is injured in Illinois by an intoxicated person can sue the establishment responsible for that person’s intoxication. That is, the injured person can sue the bar that sold or gave alcoholic beverages to the intoxicated person. 
The intoxicated person himself, however, cannot sue the liquor-serving establishment for injuries to himself or his own property, nor can their family make a claim for the loss of the intoxicated person’s support or society.

The Liquor Control Act also specifies limits on the amount of damages that an injured person can claim. These limits are updated annually based on inflation. For incidents occurring on or after January 20, 2019, the maximum compensation is $70,091.09 per person injured. The injured person’s immediate family can also claim loss of support or loss of society up to a maximum of $85,666.89. Each establishment holding a liquor sales license is required to have liquor liability insurance of at least $225,849.07.

What Do You Have to Prove to Win a Liquor Liability Case?

If you have been injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, you will need to prove three key points in order to obtain compensation under Illinois’ liquor liability laws:

- The person who injured you was served liquor at a specific bar.
- That person was served enough liquor at that bar to become intoxicated.
- That person, while still intoxicated, caused the car accident in which you were injured.

An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to investigate your case and gather the necessary evidence. 

For example, when police suspect that intoxication contributed to a car crash, they will typically order immediate blood-alcohol testing of the at-fault driver. That will establish the level of that driver’s intoxication. The police may also obtain verbal testimony from the at-fault driver and any passengers they were transporting, which could reveal where they had been drinking and how much alcohol was consumed.

If the police investigation does not reveal where the at-fault driver became intoxicated, a private investigation led by an experienced lawyer may turn up this information. For example, a drunk driver’s alcohol consumption in the hours just prior to a car crash could be documented through credit card transactions, cell phone tracking, security camera video, or eyewitness testimony from other patrons of the bar.

Consult an Aggressive Palatine Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a member of your family have been injured or killed in a car crash involving a drunk driver, you may be able to claim compensation from more than one source. For a free initial consultation on your case, call an experienced Schaumburg personal injury attorney. Contact the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC at 847-934-6000.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


How Teen Parties Can Result in Parent Liability for Personal Injuries

Web Admin - Thursday, October 11, 2018
Schaumburg personal injury attorney parent liabilityYou may have heard of parents saying, “I would rather have my kids host a party at our house or get them a hotel room than have them out driving who-knows-where and drinking.” Or perhaps you have heard of 17- to 20-year-olds using fake IDs or an older sibling’s ID to buy alcohol. If, as a parent, these tales do not set off warning lights in your mind, you may want to pay heed to this quick tutorial on Illinois law. Not only are there criminal penalties to consider, but also the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit.

Do Not Use a Fake or Borrowed ID for Underage Alcohol Purchase 

It is illegal in Illinois for a person under age 21 to purchase alcoholic beverages using a fraudulent ID or using the driver’s license of another person. Both the lender and the borrower of an ID card used to illegally purchase alcohol can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. 

Do Not Allow Underage Alcohol Consumption on Your Property 

Parents may allow their children under age 21 to consume alcohol under a parent’s direct supervision and approval in the privacy of their home. However, it is against Illinois law for parents to allow “invitees” under age 21 to consume alcoholic beverages on any property under their control or on any vehicle or watercraft under their control (235 ILCS 5/6-16, a-1). The property owner is legally responsible, whether they knowingly allowed the alcoholic beverage consumption or simply failed to control access to the alcohol. 

The offense of providing alcohol to a person under age 21 is a Class A misdemeanor. If a death or personal injury results, the property owner could face severe criminal penalties. 

In addition, parents should be aware of the laws governing social host civil liability. The applicable Illinois law is the Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act (740 ILCS 58). Social host liability means that an adult host can be held liable for injuries resulting from a minor’s impairment by alcohol or drugs obtained from that adult host. 

For example, suppose an adult hosts a party where alcohol or illegal drugs are available, and minors under age 21 are present. If one of those minors becomes impaired, gets behind the wheel or a car, and is involved in a collision, anyone injured in that accident can sue the adult host for damages.

Do Not Rent a Hotel Room for Prom Night, Graduation Night, Etc.

If a person over age 21 pays for a hotel room in which underage alcohol consumption is anticipated, and one of those minors becomes intoxicated and causes property damage or injury to another person, the person who paid for the hotel room can be held liable such damages and injuries (235 ILCS 5/6-21). 

For example, if an underage drinking party gets out of control, the hotel could sue the adult renter in civil court to force payment for damage to walls, ceilings, windows, or furnishings. The adult renter could also be found negligent in a personal injury lawsuit if one of those minors gets drunk in that hotel room and is injured in a fall down the hotel stairs or off a balcony. 

Consult an Arlington Heights Personal Injury Attorney 

If you host or contribute to an underage drinking event, and someone is injured as a result, you could be sued for damages in civil court in addition to facing criminal charges. If you or your child have been injured because a parent or other adult gave minors access to alcohol or illegal drugs, it is imperative to consult an experienced Palatine personal injury lawyer. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will carefully review your case and recommend the best course of action to mitigate the damage to your life. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to arrange a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Recovering Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

Web Admin - Thursday, August 23, 2018
Schaumburg dog bite injury lawyerPets are an important part of many people’s lives, and dogs, cats, and other animals are often considered to be full-fledged members of their families. However, as much as we love and bond with our pets, it is important to remember that they are animals, and situations can arise when they harm someone. Dog bites are unfortunately common, and those who are injured in these and other types of animal attacks should understand how Illinois law applies to their situation as they determine how to recover compensation for the harm they have suffered.

Liability and Compensation for Dog Bites in Illinois

The Illinois Animal Control Act states that when a dog or other animal bites or attacks someone, the animal’s owner is liable for the damages that were caused. Unlike some states, Illinois uses a “strict liability” standard when it comes to dog bites, meaning that an owner is liable for the injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether they were aware that the dog was dangerous or had aggressive tendencies.

There are two exceptions to this liability standard. A dog’s owner may be free from liability if:

A person was injured after provoking the dog.
A person was trespassing or was not legally allowed to be in the location where the attack occurred.

Types of Dog Bite Damages

Those injured by dog bites should understand the extent of the damages they may be able to recover. These include:

Medical bills - Dog bites can result in a wide variety of serious injuries, including lacerations, broken bones, puncture wounds, injuries to the eyes or face, or severe scarring and disfigurement. An injured party should be able to recover the full costs of medical care, including any ongoing rehabilitation.
Lost income - If a person was unable to work while recovering from their injuries, or if the injury resulted in disability that affected their ability to earn an income, they may be able to recover these losses.
Pain and suffering - An injured person and their family may experience a great deal of physical and emotional pain as they make their recovery, and financial compensation can help them overcome these difficulties.
Property damage - If an animal attack resulted in torn clothing or damage to jewelry or other belongings, the victim should be compensated for these losses.

Due to the strict liability standard, Illinois has one of the highest rates of animal attack claims in the United States, second only to California. State Farm reported that it paid more than $14 million in dog bite claims in 2016, with an average of $43,000 per claim.

Contact an Arlington Heights Dog Bite Injury Attorney

If you have been the victim of a dog bite or other animal attack, you should work with an attorney to determine your best options for pursuing the financial compensation that will help you recover from your injuries. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our Crystal Lake personal injury attorneys will help you recover the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Insurance Claim After an Automobile Accident

Web Admin - Friday, July 31, 2015

insurance claim, Illinois car accident lawyer, insurance disputeIn a perfect world, we would not need insurance because we would never have any accidents. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a wonderful place. If you have never been involved in an automobile accident, you may not be familiar with the process of making an insurance claim. Though we hope you never have to go through this process, understanding what to expect if you do can be helpful.

Illinois Fault-Based Insurance

When it comes to automobile accidents, Illinois is a fault-based state. This means that whoever is legally at fault for the accident is responsible for paying those individuals injured by the accident. Usually, this means that the at-fault party’s insurance carrier will pay for the damages. An individual involved in an accident caused by another driver has three options:

  1. 1. File a claim with his or her own insurance company, which will then pursue a subrogation claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company;
  2. 2. Pursue a claim directly with the at-fault party’s insurance company; or
  3. 3. File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Pursuing Insurance Claims

Usually, automobile accidents involve claims with insurance companies. The requirements on automobile insurance are codified under the Illinois Insurance Code. After a claim is filed, a claims adjuster will be assigned to the case. The adjuster may contact the insured person to obtain more information about the accident. In addition, the adjuster may do the following:

  1. 1. Request a copy of the police report;
  2. 2. Contact the other driver involved in the accident;
  3. 3. Contact any known witnesses to the accident;
  4. 4. Inspect the car for damages (this may include the adjuster taking photographs of the vehicle); and
  5. 5. Contact healthcare providers for information in relation to any injury expenses.

If the accident resulted in no injuries, the only issue will be repair to the vehicle. Resolution of claims made for vehicle repairs usually involves one of the following options:

  1. 1. Use a body shop approved by the insurance company: these shops are already approved to perform automobile repair by the carrier; the claimant simply takes his or her car in for an estimate and the work is subsequently completed;
  2. 2. Obtain quotes: the adjuster may request that the claimant take the vehicle to several shops in order to obtain estimates to compare; or
  3. 3. Claimant uses their own shop: claimants may decide to use a shop of their choosing. But, this may result in the claimant having to pay the difference in cost between the shop he or she chooses and what the insurance company determines is the fair price of the work.

If injuries occur as a result of the accident, resolving the insurance claims becomes more complex. It will be necessary for the claims adjuster to receive evidence of all medical bills. This may require the claimant to sign a waiver granting the insurance company access to his or her medical records. Further, personal injury can add significant costs on top of the cost to repair the vehicle. This added cost may make coming to an agreement on who was at fault and for what amounts much more difficult and time-consuming.

Making claims against insurance companies can be difficult and frustrating. For assistance with your insurance claim, call an experienced Illinois insurance dispute attorney at 847-934-6000 today. Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC proudly provides representation for individuals throughout the northwest suburbs, in communities such as Crystal Lake, Barrington, Deer Park, Inverness, and Schaumburg.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

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