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Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking and Car Accident Injuries

Lake County DUI lawyerUnderage drinking tends to rise in May and June due to graduation parties and other celebrations that mark the end of the school year. Unfortunately, intoxicated minors often make risky choices, which can result in catastrophic injuries from falls or car crashes. These young people may injure not only themselves but also other people, particularly in drunk driving accidents. These accidents can cause substantial financial and emotional damage as well as physical injury. Everyone looks for someone to hold liable for these damages.  

Most people have heard of dram shop laws, which make a licensed liquor seller who overserves a visibly intoxicated customer financially liable for injuries caused by that impaired customer, typically in a drunk driving crash.

What many people do not realize is that Illinois also has a set of social host liability laws that apply to parents and other adults. In specific situations, an adult who contributes to the impairment of a minor by alcohol or illegal drugs can be held liable for injuries resulting from that minor’s impairment.

The two applicable Illinois laws are the Illinois Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act of 2004 (740 ILCS 58/1) and a section of the Illinois Liquor Control Act (235 ILCS 5/6-21) that specifically relates to liability for underage drinking.

Adult Liability for Under-21 Intoxication and Resulting Injuries

Section 6-21(a) of the Illinois Liquor Control Act allows you to hold liable any adult at least 21 years old who pays for a hotel room or other facility knowing that it will be used for alcohol consumption by persons under age 21, in the event that any of those underage drinkers become impaired and cause injury to others.

Social Host Liability for Under-18 Intoxication and Resulting Injuries

The Illinois Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act of 2004 (740 ILCS 58/1), also known as the social host liability law, applies to adults age 18 and above who contribute to a person under age 18 becoming impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs. There are two ways that you can be sued for damages under this law: willful supply and willful permission.

Willful Supply: A person at least 18 years old can be held liable for damages when they wilfully supply alcohol or illegal drugs to a person under age 18 which causes the minor to become impaired and the impaired minor causes injury or death to self or others. This is the section of the law that applies to parents, college students, and others who allow under-18 drinking in their residence.

Willful Permission: A person at least 18 years old can be held liable for damages when they wilfully permit the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs on their non-residential property by a person under age 18 which causes the minor to become impaired and the impaired minor causes injury or death to self or others.

Lake County Car Crash Lawyer Obtains Compensation for Victims

If you or your child suffered serious injuries in any type of accident involving underage drinking, you may have a cause of action against the party host or alcohol provider in addition to the driver. For a free initial consultation on your case, call an experienced Waukegan car accident attorney. Call Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at 847-662-3303.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2493&ChapterID=57

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-21

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/155.00.pdf

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