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Who is liable for the costs of an Illinois drunk driving crash?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Drivers in Illinois cannot obtain a license without undergoing training. The mandatory education for those seeking a driver’s license includes information about drunk driving statutes. For those who are old enough to legally drink, it is illegal to get behind the wheel when feeling impaired or when the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Certain motorists, including underage drivers and those operating commercial vehicles, are subject to lower BAC limits.

Anyone who gets caught driving with a BAC over the legal limit could face arrest and prosecution. Some people get caught not because of targeted traffic stops but instead because they caused major motor vehicle collisions while under the influence. Drunk driving crashes can cause expensive property damage, catastrophic physical injuries and premature deaths.

Who is typically financially liable for the losses generated by an Illinois drunk driving crash?

The impaired motorist

Given the universal education requirements and prevalence of public awareness campaigns, drivers generally know about the laws restricting alcohol consumption before getting behind the wheel. The unfortunate truth is that many people think that they have a high enough tolerance to drive without causing a crash. Others think that their driving ability is good enough for them to make it home while avoiding police detection.

Even if someone gets lucky dozens of times, it only takes one mistake for them to cause life-altering consequences for other people. Drunk drivers declared at fault for collisions typically need to provide insurance coverage for those affected. When they don’t have insurance or have poor coverage, then the people affected by an impaired driving crash might decide to take legal action by suing the drunk driver.

Licensed businesses that serve alcohol

The unfortunate reality for many people affected by drunk driving collisions is that the drunk driver may not have the resources necessary to cover the costs they generated. People affected by drunk driving crashes may need to look into other options.

A dram shop claim brought under Illinois state law could be an option. There are many state rules restricting the service of alcohol in Illinois. Wait staff and bartenders should not continue providing alcohol to someone who is already visibly drunk. Additionally, businesses should not serve alcohol to those under the age of 21.

If a patron served in either of those two situations goes on to cause a crash, the business may have a degree of liability. Dram shop statutes allow those affected by drunk drivers to hold businesses accountable for their violations of liquor service rules.

Understanding who may have liability for a drunk driving crash may help people obtain more comprehensive compensation for the losses generated by a wreck.