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Suit Against Restaurant Raises Questions of Responsibility

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A woman injured in a drunk driving related car accident is suing the restaurant that served alcohol to the other driver. The intoxicated driver was a DuPage County prosecutor.

The case raises questions about the responsibility of bars and restaurants in drunk driving incidents. For Chicago Public Radio, Miriam Gottfried has more.


Under the Dram Shop Act, Illinois restaurants and bars can be held responsible for damage caused by customers who drink alcohol at their businesses.

Many Illinois municipalities also require servers and bartenders to be trained to know how and when to stop serving alcohol to customers.

DePaul University law professor Leonard Cavise says suits under the act are common.

CAVISE: I think most owners of bars and restaurants know about the Dram Shop Act; they just don’t pay attention to it. They just take their chances.

Cavise says liability is limited to a modest $45,000 for personal injury and $55,000 for loss of support.

But, he says, that should be enough to remind drinking establishments to cut people off.

For Chicago Public Radio, I’m Miriam Gottfried.

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