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Who is Responsible for Drunk Driving Accidents?

Many people and entities can be responsible for your drunk driving injuries including some of these parties:

  • The drunk driver
  • The drunk driver's employer
  • The drunk driver's server
  1. Who Is Normally Liable For Drunk Driving Accidents In Illinois?
  2. How Does Illinois Make Adults Liable For Drunk Driving Accidents?
  3. Can I Still Recover Under My Own Insurance If The Drunk Driver Didn't Have Enough Or Any Insurance?
  4. Why Are Employers Liable In Drunk Driving Accidents?
  5. Why Are Restaurants And Bars Liable In Drunk Driving Accidents?
  6. Unsure Who's Responsible For Your Drunk Driving Incident?

Who Is Normally Liable For Drunk Driving Accidents In Illinois?

After the incredible grief and sadness subside, your thoughts will likely turn to putting the pieces back together after a drunk driving accident. The focus will then shift to finding the person that was responsible for the tragedy. Here is a simple list to start with in determining who to bring a drunk driving claim against:

  • THE DRUNK DRIVER: Obviously, the people to start with are the drunk drivers themselves. Assuming that there was no intervening force that forced them to cause the incident or you were not partially responsible for it, they must pay for the damages that they personally caused.

  • THE DRUNK DRIVER'S EMPLOYER: Employers are vicariously liable for the torts that their employees cause as long as they are foreseeable and committed while in the course of their employment. As long as the drunk driver was not deviating too much from the intended work, his or her boss will still be liable for all of your injuries.

  • THE DRUNK DRIVER'S SERVER: If a bar, restaurant, or other establishment serves a customer alcohol and that customer becomes intoxicated, then that establishment is liable to victims if the customer injures them under the Illinois Dram Shop Act. Of course, if the drunk driver visited multiple places prior to harming you then it can be tricky finding the culpable establishment but it is important to remember that they are responsible as well.

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How Does Illinois Make Adults Liable For Drunk Driving Accidents?

In 235 ILCS 5/6-21 (2000), Illinois law specifically singles out and gives civil liability to adults who knowingly serve alcohol to minors who then injure others because of their intoxicated state. Additionally, Illinois has recently adopted legislation to expand the meaning of the term “social host.” The consequence of this is that an adult can be legally responsible for the actions of other adults to whom they served alcohol. For more information, see the Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act (740 ILCS 58/1).

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Can I Still Recover Under My Own Insurance If The Drunk Driver Didn't Have Enough Or Any Insurance?

Yes, do not forget that recovery might be right under your own feet! Even if the drunk driver that injured you does not have any or enough cash or insurance to pay your award, you can still turn to your own insurance provider and collect under your personal policy for underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.

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Why Are Employers Liable In Drunk Driving Accidents?

An employer can be held responsible for the accidents that its employee creates under the theory known as respondeat superior. This theory holds that employers are liable for the harm that their employees inflict while they are working within their scope of employment. The rationale is that the employee is acting for the benefit of the employer and subject to the employer's control; therefore, it is only just to hold the employer liable if injury results. Drunk driving is a hard fit for this theory though because many courts think that it is inherently outside of the employee's scope of employment. However, you and your lawyer might find that it fits within the work scope so it is important to discuss this with your counsel to see if you can sue the employer as well.

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Why Are Restaurants And Bars Liable In Drunk Driving Accidents?

Like many other states, Illinois has enacted a set of Dram Shop laws that make hosts or establishments liable for the injuries that their patrons cause if the customer was served while they were clearly intoxicated. Also, these laws are a strict liability scheme so there's nothing else a plaintiff must prove and nothing else a defendant can say to remove liability. Why do states employ this kind of system? They want to put the onus on bars, restaurants, and other places because they are in a good position to cut the chain of events off at the head. Plus, they are normally very resourceful and provide a place for injured victims to recover from for their various expenses and damages. Finally, it is important to note that parties liable under Illinois Dram Shop laws are not just commercial places like taverns or stores. Social hosts like families holding holiday parties can be on the hook too if they serve intoxicated guests.

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Unsure Who's Responsible For Your Drunk Driving Incident?

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC helps victims identify who's responsible for the injuries they sustained in a drunk driving incident. Contact us, we can help you too. Plus, we can prepare and present your case to ensure that you don't miss out on the recovery that you deserve. To begin your march to justice today, call our offices and someone from the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC will start working immediately.

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