Illinois 2017 Dram Shop Liability Limits

Section 6-21(a) of the Illinois Liquor Control Act of 1934 (235 ILCS 5/6-21(a)), commonly known as the Dram Shop Act, requires that the Illinois Comptroller determine each year the increase or decrease in the liability limits for causes of action brought under the Act, in accordance with the consumer price index-u (CPI-U) published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Comptroller is required to post the new amounts on the official website by January 31 of each year.

The Comptroller has released the 2015 figures, which are based on an increase in the CPI-U of 0.76%. Following is a summary of the 2015 limits and those for previous years.

Date of Loss                           Limit for Injury to     Limit for Loss of Means of 
      Person or Property Support or Loss of Society

On or after 1/20/2017    $67,356.23    $82,324.28

On or after 1/20/2016                      $65,990.23                      $80,654.73

On or after 1/20/2015                      $65,511.99                      $80,070.21

On or after 1/20/2014 $65,017.86                      $79,466.27

On or after 1/20/2013 $64,057.00                      $78,291.89

On or after 1/20/2012 $62,961.47                      $76,952.91

On or after 1/20/2011 $61,151.39 $74,740.59

On or after 1/20/2010 $60,247.68                      $73,636.05

The Act provides for a statute of limitations of one (1) year, which is not tolled if the injuries are to a minor.

Separate recoveries may be obtained for personal injury, property damage, and loss of means of support or loss of society when applicable. However, the plaintiff must elect between damages for loss of means of support and loss of society.

Medical expenses incurred on behalf of the injured person are considered personal injury damages. However, medical expenses incurred on behalf of an injured minor or spouse that the parent or non-injured spouse is obligated to pay under the Family Expense Statute may be considered property damage.

The Act applies only to injuries occurring within the State of Illinois. Therefore, the Act does not apply to injuries occurring outside Illinois, even where the gift or sale of alcoholic liquor occurred in Illinois and the injured person is an Illinois resident. On the other hand, a gift or sale of alcoholic liquor that occurred outside of Illinois is actionable under the Act where the injury occurs within Illinois.

The Act provides the sole remedy against operators and owners of tavern premises for any injury caused by or in consequence of intoxication. Illinois does not recognize a common law action for the negligent furnishing of alcoholic beverages that cause intoxication and result in injury. The Act does not apply to social hosts who provide alcoholic beverages to guests.