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Dram Shop
Timothy Shay

Dram shop causes of action typically arise when a person is injured as a result of a drunk driving accident. Not only can the injured person bring a cause of action against the intoxicated motorist, but the Illinois Liquor Control Act (also known as the Illinois Dram Shop Act) allows a person to also bring a cause of action against the person or business who sold the alcohol to the intoxicated person, and the owner of the property where the person became intoxicated, if the business sells the liquor for a profit. Under the Act, the business, such as a bar or tavern, and the owner of the property, may be held liable for damages and injuries to persons that were the result of their patron’s intoxication.


The Illinois Liquor Control Act requires the injured party to prove:  (1) the alleged intoxicated person was intoxicated at the time of the incident; (2) the defendant (for example, bar or tavern) sold or gave intoxicating liquors consumed by the intoxicated patron; (3) the liquor consumed caused the intoxication; (4) a causal connection between the intoxicated patron’s acts and the injuries sustained; and (5) that the injured person in fact suffered some injury or damage.

One especially important factor which makes the Illinois Liquor Control Act different from other state’s dram shop acts, is that the injured person does not need to prove that the business knew or should have known the patron was intoxicated. Further, if the patron went to several different bars before the drunk driving accident, the injured party can recover against every business who sold the patron alcohol as long as he or she can prove the above-mentioned elements.