Can Businesses or Social Hosts Be Held Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents?

Driver liability is obvious in most drunk driving accident cases. People who drive drunk directly put other people at risk, and therefore, are liable for the damages they cause. Although the drunk driver is almost always held liable in drunk driving accident cases, there are third parties that may also be accountable for damages.

Dram shop laws account for this possibility by permitting the civil liability of people other than the drunk driver. Most often, this includes businesses and individuals who provided alcohol to the person who eventually drives drunk. The terms of dram shop laws are different in every state.

Dram Shop Laws in Missouri

In Missouri, dram shop laws apply to businesses that serve alcohol to people who are visibly intoxicated. If a person is over served and eventually injures someone in a drunk driving accident, the place where they bought the alcohol would be held liable for damages. The dram shop laws in Missouri only apply to bars and restaurants, but not liquor stores or convenience stores that sell alcohol. Additionally, only businesses are held liable under Missouri’s dram shop laws, not individual workers who serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated customers. An individual who provides alcohol to a drunk driver at a party cannot be held liable for collision damages under Missouri’s dram shop laws.

Dram Shop Laws in Illinois

The dram shop laws in Illinois differ slightly from the laws in Missouri. In Illinois, it is possible for bars, restaurants, and stores to be held liable for damages in a drunk driving case. However, like Missouri, Illinois does not allow for social host liability in these cases.

The terms under which a business is liable for a drunk driving accident in Illinois differs from Missouri as well. Unlike in Missouri, a person does not need to be visibly intoxicated for dram shop laws to take effect. Instead, claimants in Illinois must prove that they were injured and suffered losses because of a drunk driver, and that the business in question caused the driver’s intoxication.

The Law Offices of Justin L. Mason, LLC can represent you if you or a loved one were injured in a car accident. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case.

To schedule a free consultation with Attorney Justin L. Mason, complete our contact form or call (618) 441-0163.