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Who’s responsible when a drunk driver causes an accident?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Anyone who drives after drinking has an elevated risk of causing a crash. A high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) typically correlates to more difficulty focusing and making appropriate decisions, as well as an increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel and longer reaction times.

Drunk drivers cause crashes that produce catastrophic property damage, severe personal injuries and preventable death. Their actions can affect many other people and may cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and injury losses.

Who is responsible for the unfortunate consequences of a drunk driving crash in Illinois?

The impaired motorist

Drunk drivers cannot possibly get behind the wheel without knowing their actions are dangerous and illegal. Even the most basic driver’s education courses provide lessons on chemical impairment and the law against drunk driving. Additionally, there are public awareness campaigns conducted by non-profit organizations and even police departments warning drivers of both the legal consequences of getting behind the wheel after a few drinks and the practical consequences of impairment while driving.

It is both illegal and negligent to drive after drinking too much, and a drunk driver’s insurance can help compensate the people affected. They may also be at risk of a lawsuit brought by individuals harmed or those who lost a loved one in a crash.

A bar or restaurant that broke the law

There are state statutes that limit the lawful service of alcohol. Licensed bars and restaurants have to abide by those rules at all times or risk running afoul of the state dram shop law.

If the employees at a business licensed to serve alcohol served someone illegally, the business may be partially liable for a crash caused by that patron afterward. The two most common scenarios to trigger dram shop claims against businesses include serving someone under the age of 21 alcohol and serving an individual who is already visibly intoxicated additional alcohol despite their impairment.

Whether someone brings a claim against a business or a driver, there might both be insurance coverage available and the option of pursuing a lawsuit in civil court. Exploring every option for compensation can better protect those negatively affected by a drunk driver.