Alcohol accidents are very serious for several reasons. This strong depressant first hits a person in the cerebellum and can cause some seriously impaired cognitive function, poor judgment, loss of motor skills, rapid loss of body heat, loss of balance, and slowed reaction times. Unfortunately, it is the reason behind many accidents that can result in some bruising and trauma or even death. Many of these accidents are largely governed in a legal sense by the dram shop laws in Illinois, which allow plaintiffs to sue the vendor of the alcohol that caused the defendant to become so intoxicated.
At Mike Agruss Law, our personal injury lawyers have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in an alcohol accident due to negligence, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Types of Alcohol Accidents
The vast majority of alcohol accidents are the result of driving while intoxicated or an altercation with an intoxicated person. Alcohol impairs judgment and motor skills among many other things. So driving is extremely dangerous to others and the intoxicated person themselves. This loss of judgment also can move a person to behave more aggressively and violently, thus resulting in an altercation that can end in terrible injuries. Theft and property damage are also common accidents conducted by intoxicated persons.
Common Injuries of Alcohol Accidents
Alcohol accidents can be extremely severe largely depending on the type of accident and the circumstances around it. Some injuries include the following:
- Bruising or bleeding
- Cuts or scrapes
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Nerve damage
Proving Liability in an Alcohol Accident Lawsuit
In order to recover the damages that you deserve after an alcohol accident, you must prove that the defendant or vendor was liable. And in order to prove that they were liable, you must prove five essential elements. These elements are listed in Chapter 5, Section G. [5.34] of the Illinois Dramshop Practice Act handbook issued by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE).
First, the plaintiff must prove that the “allegedly intoxicated person (AIP) was intoxicated at the time” of the accident. This may be done by the police report which reports that they were in fact intoxicated, police officer testimony, breathalyzer evidence, defendant’s admission, or observing their behavior and appearance. Signs of intoxication include dilated pupils, glazed-over eyes, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and more.
Second, you must be able to prove that “the defendant, his agents or servants, sold or gave intoxicating liquor consumed by the AIP.”
Third, you must prove that “the liquor thus consumed caused the intoxication of AIP.
Fourth, you must prove that the “AIP’s intoxication was at least one cause of the occurrence in question.” This further reinforces the point that the vendor of the liquor is the one to blame for the behavior of the AIP.
And lastly, “as a result of the occurrence, plaintiff suffered [injury] [damage to his property].” Only after you can prove these elements will your case fall under the dram shop laws in Illinois and allow you to reasonably pursue a lawsuit against the vendor.
If you are pursuing legal action against the intoxicated person themselves, you can show that they are liable by gathering proof of impaired driving with a police report which includes a breathalyzer, witness statements, photo or video evidence, and more. You should be able to show that they behaved negligently by acting irresponsibly and unreasonably when driving a vehicle.
Pursuing a Lawsuit
After the accident, you should call the police, take photos or videos of the scene or ask someone to do so for you, and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once you have recovered more, you should seek out an experienced attorney who can handle this alcohol accident for you. They will handle the insurance companies, the evidence, and technical aspects of the case with your help and information about your experience. Parties that can recover damages after an accident include anyone that was the victim of assault or theft by an intoxicated person, one that was involved in a car accident caused by an intoxicated person, and one whose property was damaged by an intoxicated person.
It is important to keep in mind that these lawsuits must be filed within the statute of limitations for your state. In Illinois, the Illinois Dram Shop Act has a statute of limitations of one year, meaning you must file your lawsuit within a year of the date of the accident.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
In Illinois, we use the rule of comparative negligence. It essentially dictates that a party can be completely at fault for an accident, or partially at fault. For instance, the formula may determine that the defendant was 80% liable for the accident. After winning your case, you can be compensated for each and any damages that resulted from the accident. Some damages include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages or loss of means of support
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of society
Contact Mike Agruss Law, Today
Helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people, not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance adjusters, your medical bills, your property damage, your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. Our unique formula has earned us over 1,000 outstanding client reviews on our website, an A+ BBB rating, and over 135 five-star reviews on Google. Call 888-572-0176, email us at [email protected] or schedule a meeting with us here. We’re here 24/7.