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Dram Shop Laws and Pub Crawls: Know Your Right to Relief

The recent popularity of the pub crawl trend has taken its toll on communities across the nation. The recent death of two local men caused by drunk driving is a harrowing example all too close to home. When 28-year-old Tyler Stuart got behind the wheel of his truck the night of February 11, he had already had enough to drink. Stuart had just finished a bar crawl that spanned three establishments. Stuart’s family and the family of the Crystal Lake man whom Stuart killed by colliding with his car that night are now trying to hold those three establishments liable for irresponsibly serving alcohol to Stuart before he got behind the wheel.

The law, which the plaintiffs are basing the suit off of, is called a dram shop law. The dram shop law holds an establishment or a host that serves liquor to a clearly intoxicated person liable for the injuries or losses caused by the patron. For example, a bar that serves an obviously intoxicated person with more alcohol may be held liable if that patron then got behind the wheel and caused an accident, either injuring or killing someone.

In Illinois, the dram shop law, which falls under the purview of the Liquor Control Act, provides relief for those injured by someone who was negligently served alcohol. But these cases can be intricate, especially if more than one bar was involved, and—not surprisingly—the establishments often fight back.

Dram shop laws are particularly relevant when it comes to pub and bar crawls, where the patron in question travels from establishment to establishment to drink. Pub and bar crawls are growing in popularity and can be an enjoyable activity but only if there is a designated driver or the participants use public transportation to travel between bars and to get home. Fortunately, as towns and cities across Illinois improve public transit and embrace ride sharing, there are more safe ways to get home from pub crawls than ever before.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be able to file a lawsuit to get compensation for your losses, so you should speak with an experienced attorney about your rights. Again, these cases can be complicated and are best handled by an experienced Arlington Heights auto accident attorney.

When people get behind the wheel after drinking, the results can be fatal. If you enjoy pub crawls, make sure you identify a designated driver or use a ride share service at the end of the night to keep you and others safe.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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