Sterling, IL asked in Personal Injury for Illinois

Q: is the hotel responsible for a escalator fall if if the person is intoxicated?

My brother and I had just gotten on the escalator. I was in front and him behind. I fell backwards on top of him. Even though the escalator continued to go up we stayed at the bottom. Both of us received many lacerations. I received several on my right calf. My brother received several on his calf, buttocks, shoulder and upper arm. And of course alcohol was involved.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: On your facts, there was no defect or malfunction of the escalator. Rather, you lost your balance from drinking too much and fell backwards, on your brother which caused him to fall. If you were overserved in a hotel bar or restaurant, it may be possible for you or your brother to bring a dramshop action against the hotel provided that one of you can identify at least one witness who would be able to testify that you were "obviously intoxicated" at a time when the hotel continued to serve you alcohol.

Under any other theory of liability, fault would be apportioned.

Illinois uses modified comparative negligence. Under modified comparative negligence, liability for injuries or damages is apportioned. For example, if a jury found that you should be awarded $50,000 for your injuries but that same jury found that you were 20% at fault for sustaining those injuries Illinois law would reduce your award by 20% so you would get $40,000. On the facts that you provided, it is simply not possible for any jury to find that you were less than 90% at fault. Under modified comparative negligence, when the Plaintiff is determined to be more than 50% at fault the law doe not permit you to receive any compensation, whatsoever. So, the $50,000 judgment in our hypothetical would be reduced to $0.00.

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