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IL injury lawyerMany parents struggle to find the balance between being too strict and too lenient when it comes to parenting their child. Some parents allow their child a few sips of alcohol before they are old enough to drink legally while others prohibit underage drinking entirely. In Illinois, supplying a minor with alcohol is not only a question of morality, but also legality. A parent who supplies alcohol to a minor may be held liable for injuries, deaths, or property damage caused by the minor’s intoxication. This “social host liability law” often applies to damages caused in a drunk driving accident but it may also apply to injuries and deaths involving fireworks, slip and fall accidents, or alcohol poisoning.

Illinois Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act of 2004

On June 15, 1997, a 16-year old was encouraged by two young adults to consume an entire bottle of potent Goldschlager liquor. The teen began vomiting profusely and quickly fell unconscious. She eventually passed away from alcohol poisoning. The teenager’s mother brought a wrongful death claim against the adults who encouraged her to drink but the claim was dismissed by the circuit court of Cook County. As a result, Illinois passed the Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act. Under this act, an individual over 18 years of age who serves alcohol to a minor can be held legally responsible for injuries or property damage caused by the minor’s impairment.

The Illinois Liquor Control Act also includes a section addressing adults who provide minors with alcohol. Under the Liquor Control Act, a person over 21 years old who purchases or rents a hotel room or other commercial property for the purpose of underage drinking may be liable for injuries caused by the underage drinkers’ intoxication.

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