$65,000 Dram Shop Claim for Serving Liquor to Intoxicated Person

Written by Charles J. Gale. Posted in Liquor Liability/Dram Shop, Serving Alcohol to Intoxicated Patron


Our office obtained $65,000 Dram Shop Claim for Serving Liquor to Intoxicated Person.

Our client, a 52 year old patron of a liquor establishment or dram shop, was attacked by an intoxicated person. Our office filed a claim against the liquor establishment for injuries and damages caused by the intoxicated person.

The dram shop act is a claim against a liquor establishment that improperly serves liquor to an intoxicated person. The claim is based upon Illinois statute, which limits the amount of damages that can be recovered in a dram shop claim.  The statute also limits the time in which a claim can be filed, one year.  In addition, defenses that are normally available in most premises liability claims may not be available in a Dram Shop claim.

A dram shop claimant must first prove that the liquor establishment caused the intoxication of the intoxicated person. This is not as easy to prove as its sounds. First of all, the intoxicated person may not be known. If the intoxicated person is not known to you or anyone else in the establishment and he leaves before providing his identification, you will most likely be unable to prove your case against the liquor establishment.   Very simply, you most likely be unable to prove either he was intoxicated or that the liquor establishment was the entity that got him intoxicated.  And, if the intoxicated person is identified but not arrested, he may not cooperate in identifying which liquor establishment got him intoxicated.   To prove your case, the intoxicated person must be identified and included as a defendant so that he can explain how and when he became intoxicated.

The claim against the liquor establishment is based upon the allegation that they caused the intoxication. What if the intoxicated person had visited other liquor establishments that night? Which establishment got him intoxicated? Luckily, more than one liquor establishment can be held liable for causing the intoxication, so long at the liquor provided by the establishment was a substantial and material factor in the intoxication.  If more than one establishment caused the intoxication, you can recover from each establishment, but the amount of your recovery unfortunately will not change.

Another cause for concern is the type and the amount of damages you can recover. If you win your case, the amount of damages you can recover is limited by statute to a certain dollar amount. This is vastly different than most all other personal injury claims, which have no real dollar limitation. In addition, the type of damages you can recover is also limited.  In Illinois, if your claim is for loss of society and loss of support, you can only recover compensation for one or the other, and not both.

The liquor establishment may have violated other laws in addition to the dram shop statute.  If so, then the amount of the recovery, and the type of damages recovered, will not be limited to the dram shop statute.  Because the possibilities are virtually endless, you should consult an attorney when pursuing a dram shop claim.

If you or your loved one was injured by an intoxicated person, and a liquor establishment contributed to that intoxication, call the Law Offices of Charles J. Gale.


Charles J. Gale

Charles J. Gale

B.B.A., University of Michigan School of Business; M.A.S., University of Illinois School of Business; J.D., University of Illinois School of Law; C.P.A., Illinois; Licensed to Practice Law, Illinois Licensed to Practice Law, Arizona

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Law Offices of Charles J. Gale, PC
14007 South Bell Road, Suite #254
Homer Glen, Illinois 60491

(630) 243-6409