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Pub crawl bars are sued for negligence in drunk driver's death

For many young professionals who live in Chicago, they relish the ability to take Metra between pub crawl stops instead of driving themselves. Unfortunately though, what was slated to be another fun Saturday night in February resulted in tragedy. That night, a 28-year-old man crashed into another car on his way home, killing both himself and a 68-year-old in the process.

In most cases like this, the victim's family would file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver and his or her estate. In this one, though, they've instead decided to also sue three McHenry County bars that they believe overserved the man and his friends earlier that night.

While the owners of two of the bars the man visited that night have remained relatively tight lipped in talking to the press, the owner of Arlington Height's Peggy Kinnane's has been much more vocal about his lack of liability for the crash. He noted it was the first stop the man made and that he left his particular bar hours before the fatal crash.

What's more, in a public statement, he noted that, because his bar is commonly used for pub crawls, his staff is specifically trained to be on the lookout for intoxicated patrons. He, however, also mentioned that it's common for his staff to assume that the bar's guests are riding on a train and will logically take a cab home from their final stop. That unfortunately didn't happen in this case.

Witnesses that saw the 28-year-old driving prior to the accident noted that he swerved into oncoming traffic before colliding with the other driver. Although both men died from their injuries soon after the crash, police were able to procure a blood draw from the younger man while he was still being treated at the hospital. His blood alcohol content registered 0.167, twice Illinois' legal limit.

As for the elder victim's widow, she maintains that her goal in filing the lawsuit is to have pubs rethink how they serve individuals in the future. Under Illinois' "dram shop" law, the taverns are only held liable for up to $149,000 if one of their customers either injures or kills another.

If you've lost a loved one in a similar type of incident, then you should contact a Chicago personal injury attorney who can advise you of your rights to file a wrongful death claim.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Lawsuit: Bars responsible for man's death in DUI crash after pub crawl," John Keilman, June 29, 2017

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