An 18 year old driver has been charged with DUI after a car accident at the intersection of Division and Jackson in Morris last week. The intoxicated teenager ran a stop sign and hit another vehicle which was passing through the intersection. The two occupants of the vehicle hit by the intoxicated teen had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.One of the key issues in this case will be where and how did this teen become intoxicated? The answer to that question will determine whether anyone besides the teen will bear civil liability for the car accident. For example:
- If the teen became intoxicated at a licensed liquor establishment such as a bar or restaurant, then that business would have civil liability under the Illinois Dram Shop Act. This statute imposes civil liability on licensed liquor establishments for injuries caused by drunken patrons, subject to an annually adjusted cap on damages recoverable under the Dram Shop Act.
- If the teen were provided liquor by adults in a social setting, the parents would bear some civil liability for the drunk driving accident injuries under a new statute called the Drug and Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act. This statute places civil liability on the adults who provide alcoholic beverages to minors who cause injuries to others through their intoxication.
The investigation of these issues will be an important part of obtaining full compensation to the victims of this car accident. Because of the ongoing criminal investigation, answers to these questions may not be readily forthcoming. Given the short, 1-year statute of limitations for claims under the Illinois Dram Shop Act, I strongly recommend that the victims of this teen drunk driving accident promptly seek the services of an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer to assist them in this matter.