Dram Shop

In colonial times, alcoholic beverages were sold by the dram—with one dram equaling roughly one-eighth of a fluid ounce. A dram shop is essentially legal terminology for a bar, tavern, or another establishment that sells alcoholic beverages.

Illinois’ Liquor Control Act of 1934 is commonly referred to as the Dram Shop Act, and 235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/6-21 creates a cause of action against owners of businesses that sell liquor, and also against lessors or owners of the premises on which the liquor is sold, for physical injuries to people, injuries to tangible property, or injuries to means of support or loss of society—but not both—caused by an intoxicated person. A victim who suffers injuries because of an intoxicated person’s negligence only has one year from the date of the accident to commence a legal action, which makes quick action extremely important.

Lawyer for Dram Shop Claims in Chicago, IL

Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed because of an intoxicated person’s negligence in Cook County? You will want to immediately seek legal representation for help determining whether you may be eligible for compensation under Illinois’ dram shop laws. Contact Susan E. Loggans & Associates as soon as possible.

Chicago personal injury attorney Susan E. Loggans represents clients in all kinds of premises liability claims in communities throughout northern Illinois, such as Chicago, Elgin, Evanston, Des Plaines, Berwyn, and many others. Call (302) 201-8600 today to have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, no-obligation consultation. Susan E. Loggans & Associates provides legal representation on a contingency fee basis, meaning that clients do not pay any fees unless they receive financial awards.


Overview of Dram Shop Laws in Cook County


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Illinois Dram Shop Laws

Unlike many other states with dram shop laws, Illinois does not require a plaintiff to prove that an establishment knowingly served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. In order for a bar, restaurant, or other dram shop to be liable for a victim’s injuries, the plaintiff will need to prove all of the following:

  • The vendor sold alcohol to the patron;
  • The alcohol caused the patron’s intoxication;
  • The victim suffered injuries; and
  • The victim’s injuries were caused (at least in part) by the same patron’s intoxication.

Illinois also imposes limits on liability in dram shop claims. Under 235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/6-21, liability limits are automatically increased or decreased by a percentage equal to the percentage change in the consumer price index-u during the preceding 12-month calendar year.

The new amount resulting from each annual adjustment must be determined by the Illinois State Comptroller and made available via the Comptroller's official website by January 31 of every year and to the chief judge of each judicial circuit. For 2017, the Comptroller has established the following liability limits:

  • For causes of action involving persons injured, killed, or incurring property damage on or after January 20, 2017, the judgment or recovery under the Liquor Control Act of 1934 for injury to the person or property of any person shall not exceed $67,356.23 for each person incurring damages; and
  • For causes of action under the Liquor Control Act of 1934 for either loss of means of support or loss of society resulting from the death or injury of any person on or after January 20, 2017, the judgment or recovery shall not exceed $82,324.28.

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Types of Injuries in Chicago Dram Shop Cases

Most injuries caused by intoxicated patrons involve automobile accidents. The severity of the injuries victims suffer in these crashes can vary depending on numerous factors, but retail establishments that served alcohol to drunk drivers can be liable for a victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

Kinds of injuries victims sustain in drunk driving collisions include but are not limited to:

  • Amputations
  • Broken Bones / Fractures
  • Burn Injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Eye Injuries
  • Internal Organ Injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
  • Coma
  • Death

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Dram Shop Resources in Cook County

235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/ | Liquor Control Act of 1934 — View the full text of the state law governing regulations relating to alcoholic beverages. 235 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/6-21 is the specific section that creates a cause of action against owners of businesses that sell liquor and lessors or owners of premises on which the liquor is sold for injuries caused by an intoxicated person. The Act created a three-tier regulatory system that includes producers, retailers, and distributors.

Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions | Civil | 150.00 Dram Shop Act — Read civil jury instructions for dram shop cases as drafted by the Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions in Civil Cases. The instructions cover the burden of proof, statutory provisions, and affirmative defenses. You can also find legal definitions for alcoholic liquor, means of support, and intoxicated.


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Susan E. Loggans & Associates | Chicago Dram Shop Attorney

If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in a drunk driving crash in northern Illinois, it will be in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Susan E. Loggans & Associates fights for drunk driving accident victims in Elmhurst, Park Ridge, Calumet City, Burbank, Oak Forest, and many surrounding areas of Cook County.

Susan E. Loggans is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Chicago who can investigate all of the circumstances surrounding your injuries and work tirelessly to hold all negligent parties accountable. She can review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (302) 201-8600 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free initial consultation.


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