As a southern Illinois traffic accident attorney, I was pleased to see that an Illinois jury brought back a large verdict in a drunk driving lawsuit that killed a woman from Batchtown. The Belleville News-Democrat reported Nov. 23 that Jerica Klocke, 19, died as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle driven by Donald Adcock, 24, of Carrollton. Adcock also died in the September 2007 crash. He had been drinking at a bar in Eldred before the crash, and Klocke’s family brought the suit against the bar under Illinois dram shop law. After a two-day trial in Jersey County, the jury returned a verdict of $549,954.11. However, damages cats set down by Illinois law mean the verdict will be reduced substantially, probably to a little more than $100,000.
Under dram shop laws, businesses that serve alcohol are legally responsible for not serving any more alcohol to someone who is already visibly intoxicated. That was the charge against the bar in the Klocke family’s lawsuit. Adcock allegedly spent 30 to 60 minutes at another establishment, then moved to the bar for several more hours. Klocke had just lost her grandmother and wanted to visit a girlfriend, so a friend arranged a ride for her on the back of Adcock’s motorcycle. Witnesses testified that Adcock did not appear intoxicated, but after the crash, a blood test indicated that he had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08.
I’m sorry that this young woman’s family will see such a dramatic reduction in their damages — but I’m glad the jury sent a message that enabling drunk driving is not acceptable. As a Missouri drunk driving accident lawyer, I help clients hold drunk drivers (rather than bars and restaurants) legally responsible for causing catastrophic traffic accidents. As all drivers must realize by now, drinking and driving kills, by impairing drivers’ judgment, vision, motor skills and even consciousness. This puts not only the drunk drivers themselves, but all of the motorists around them, at an unnecessary and unacceptable risk. That’s especially worth remembering right now, because the holiday season means more drivers in Missouri and Illinois are likely to have been drinking at parties or family gatherings.
Carey, Danis & Lowe represents clients throughout southern Illinois and all of Missouri who have lost a family member or sustained serious injuries because of someone else’s irresponsible choice to drive while intoxicated. Our St. Louis car crash lawyers see clients all too frequently who have had their lives turned upside down by a careless driver. In many cases, the wounds left behind are emotional as well as physical, affecting entire families. These can also cause financial injuries — severe, unexpected financial costs and losses from unplanned time off work and six-figure medical bills. In a lawsuit, victims can claim all of these costs, as well as financial damages for their physical injuries, pain, emotional trauma and any disability or wrongful death.
If you’ve been involved in a serious DUI accident that was not your fault, the Lowe Law Firm can tell you more about your rights and your legal options. To set up a free, confidential consultation, you can call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us online.