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Understanding the Social Host Liability Law in Illinois

Posted on in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Lake County personal injury attorneysAs you enjoy your holiday parties this season, it is important to note how seriously Illinois law takes underage drinking. You probably already know that it is against the law for anyone under age 21 to consume alcohol, but you may not know about the laws regarding adults who supply alcohol or drugs to minors. In 2004, Illinois passed the Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act. The Act established a law that holds adults liable for injuries or deaths resulting from underage drinking when the underaged drinking was allowed or encouraged by the adults. It is important for all Illinois residents to be aware of the “social host liability law” and the consequences of allowing a minor to drink alcohol or use drugs.

Wakulich v. Mraz Provoked a Change in Illinois Law

The Illinois law regarding the duty of adults to prevent children from drinking alcoholic beverages was passed in response to a case involving the death of a 16-year-old girl. The young girl was at the home of two brothers, aged 18 and 21, and their father. At the home, the brothers offered the 16-year-old money if she could drink an entire bottle of Goldshlager without vomiting or losing consciousness. The girl consumed the bottle but quickly became unresponsive. Although the young girl was showing obvious signs of alcohol poisoning, the brothers did not seek medical help. The girl was eventually taken to the hospital but the damage to her body was too extensive, and she died due to the extreme binge drinking. 

The girl’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the family who allowed her daughter to drink so excessively, but the case was dismissed by the circuit court of Cook County. The dismissal was upheld both by an appellate court and the Illinois Supreme Court because the law in Illinois at the did not support a finding in the mother’s favor. In response to this case, the Illinois legislature created a cause of action that holds adults liable for supplying minors with alcohol or drugs if the minors are injured or killed as a result.

Bringing an Injury Claim Under Illinois Social Host Liability Laws

If you have lost a child or other minor loved one because a negligent adult gave them access to alcohol or drugs, you may be able to hold that person accountable for their actions through an injury claim. The social host liability law states that an adult who supplies liquor or drugs to a minor shall be liable for injuries, deaths, and property damage caused by the minor’s impairment. Social host liability can also apply to other types of injuries such as those caused by car accidents, fireworks, and slip and fall accidents.

Contact a Lake County Personal Injury Lawyer

If another person’s negligence caused the death or injury of your loved one, contact an experienced Waukegan personal injury attorney to learn about your legal options. Call Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. at 847-662-3303 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

 

Sources:

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

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/opinions/supremecourt/2003/February/Summaries/Html/92128s.htm

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