2015 Illinois Statutory
Dram Shop Limits Determined
1998 amendments to the Illinois Liquor Control Act, commonly known as
the Dram Shop Act, require the Illinois Comptroller to annually
determine the increase or decrease in the liability limits for causes
of action brought under the Act, in accordance with the consumer
price index (CPI-U) published by the Bureaus of Labor Statistics.
2015 figures are
based on an increase in the CPI-U of 0.76% from 2014. The liability
limits for claims occurring on or after January 20th, 2015 are
$65,511.99 for bodily injury and property damage (each), and
$80,070.21 for either loss of means of support or loss of society
resulting from the death or injury of any person.
perspective, below are the limits over the last decade.
Injury & Property Damage
of Society/Loss of Means of Support
numbers speak for themselves. In the last ten years, Bodily Injury
and Property Damage have risen by $12,419.94, respectively, while
Loss of Society/Loss of Means of Support has increased by $15,179.93.
The lesson we try to stress to our clients is that the cost of Liquor
Liability claims goes up every year. If you're still carrying the
state minimum of $300,000 in liquor liability coverage you have a
potentially dangerous exposure, and one that is often inexpensive to
In a one
person claim, you may be ok with a lower liability limit. But even a
two person claim, with maximum damages awarded per person for Bodily
Injury, Property Damage and LS/LMS, you could face a potential claim
well north of $300,000 - putting you almost $100,000 out of pocket
without considering whether your policy limit includes or excludes
Even with a
$500,000 Liquor Liability limit, it doesn't take much stretching of
the imagination to envision a potential claim that would exhaust half
a million dollars of coverage. Increasing damage settlements such as
this are precisely the reason that $1 Million in liquor liability
coverage has been the industry standard. And many of the more legally
thorough clients with in-house counsel want even higher limits, either
on their liquor or by purchasing an excess or umbrella liability
in Illinois and are "protected" by the Dram Shop limits, or
a state without a dram shop statute to cap the damages you may face
in a suit, the warning is the same: these big claims happen more than
you may hear about. Don't be caught off-guard and underinsured and
jeopardize the the assets and future of your business.
liability limits do you carry? Ever had a huge liquor liability
claim against you - how did it turn out? Please
share on our Facebook page.
We want to hear from you.