How Teen Parties Can Result in Parent Liability for Personal Injuries

Web Admin - Thursday, October 11, 2018
Schaumburg personal injury attorney parent liabilityYou may have heard of parents saying, “I would rather have my kids host a party at our house or get them a hotel room than have them out driving who-knows-where and drinking.” Or perhaps you have heard of 17- to 20-year-olds using fake IDs or an older sibling’s ID to buy alcohol. If, as a parent, these tales do not set off warning lights in your mind, you may want to pay heed to this quick tutorial on Illinois law. Not only are there criminal penalties to consider, but also the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit.

Do Not Use a Fake or Borrowed ID for Underage Alcohol Purchase 

It is illegal in Illinois for a person under age 21 to purchase alcoholic beverages using a fraudulent ID or using the driver’s license of another person. Both the lender and the borrower of an ID card used to illegally purchase alcohol can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. 

Do Not Allow Underage Alcohol Consumption on Your Property 

Parents may allow their children under age 21 to consume alcohol under a parent’s direct supervision and approval in the privacy of their home. However, it is against Illinois law for parents to allow “invitees” under age 21 to consume alcoholic beverages on any property under their control or on any vehicle or watercraft under their control (235 ILCS 5/6-16, a-1). The property owner is legally responsible, whether they knowingly allowed the alcoholic beverage consumption or simply failed to control access to the alcohol. 

The offense of providing alcohol to a person under age 21 is a Class A misdemeanor. If a death or personal injury results, the property owner could face severe criminal penalties. 

In addition, parents should be aware of the laws governing social host civil liability. The applicable Illinois law is the Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act (740 ILCS 58). Social host liability means that an adult host can be held liable for injuries resulting from a minor’s impairment by alcohol or drugs obtained from that adult host. 

For example, suppose an adult hosts a party where alcohol or illegal drugs are available, and minors under age 21 are present. If one of those minors becomes impaired, gets behind the wheel or a car, and is involved in a collision, anyone injured in that accident can sue the adult host for damages.

Do Not Rent a Hotel Room for Prom Night, Graduation Night, Etc.

If a person over age 21 pays for a hotel room in which underage alcohol consumption is anticipated, and one of those minors becomes intoxicated and causes property damage or injury to another person, the person who paid for the hotel room can be held liable such damages and injuries (235 ILCS 5/6-21). 

For example, if an underage drinking party gets out of control, the hotel could sue the adult renter in civil court to force payment for damage to walls, ceilings, windows, or furnishings. The adult renter could also be found negligent in a personal injury lawsuit if one of those minors gets drunk in that hotel room and is injured in a fall down the hotel stairs or off a balcony. 

Consult an Arlington Heights Personal Injury Attorney 

If you host or contribute to an underage drinking event, and someone is injured as a result, you could be sued for damages in civil court in addition to facing criminal charges. If you or your child have been injured because a parent or other adult gave minors access to alcohol or illegal drugs, it is imperative to consult an experienced Palatine personal injury lawyer. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC will carefully review your case and recommend the best course of action to mitigate the damage to your life. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to arrange a consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Natural Gas Explosion Prevention and Liability

Web Admin - Friday, December 26, 2014

Illinois natural gas liability, Buffalo Grove personal injury attorneyNatural gas explosions can be some of the most devastating types of home accidents. Flammable mixtures of air and gas can severely injure and even kill unsuspecting homeowners. In fact, natural gas explosions can cause hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage every year, according to government statistics. Natural gas fires are often difficult to prevent, and may require the intervention of skilled professionals. Still, there are some steps that people can take to help keep themselves safe. In the unfortunate event that a natural gas explosion does occur, people should also understand their legal rights as far as pursuing recovery is concerned.

Preventing Gas Explosions

Natural gas explosions are notoriously difficult to prevent because gas is so difficult for people to detect. One of the key ways to prevent gas explosions is by smell. Although the gas is naturally odorless, gas companies add a special molecule to the gas known as an odorant. It is this extra odorant that provides gas with its distinctive smell of rotten eggs. If a person does detect that smell, it is important to leave the house immediately. People should not risk doing anything that would create a spark, which includes using a telephone or turning on a light. Instead, people should call emergency services from a neighbor's home.

People can also take preventative measures to avoid gas leaks in the first place. These include installation of gas appliances by qualified professionals, and the use of gas appliances that meet recognized safety standards. Additionally, people should consider installing natural gas detectors in their homes, especially in places where the gas is likely to build up, such as in a basement.

Gas Explosion Liability

Natural gas is a complex utility that requires a lot of different people to install properly, so many different people may be liable for a natural gas explosion. For instance, a gas leak could occur as a result of a faulty appliance. If that happened, then the homeowners could pursue a product liability action against the appliance's manufacturer. However, natural gas explosions can also occur with properly manufactured equipment. This could be the result of a faulty installation of the appliance or improper maintenance by repair professionals. It is important to conduct a thorough examination after a natural gas explosion in order to determine who was really at fault. That will make it easier to make sure that they cover the costs of the damage that they were responsible for.

Natural gas explosions are complex legal issues that can have serious effects on people's lives. If you have recently been the victim of a gas fire or gas explosion, contact an Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our team of dedicated lawyers helps people across northwest suburban Illinois, in towns like Buffalo Grove, Deer Park, and Des Plaines.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Liability for Accidents on the Golf Course

Web Admin - Tuesday, June 03, 2014

illinois golf accident lawyerWith the warm weather finally here, many people have already begun making their way back to the golf courses. Yet, the sport is not without its legal liabilities. Errant golf ball strikes are a common hazard that can result in damage to nearby property, harm to other players, and even death in some more serious circumstances. Additionally, many golf games involve the players drinking during the game or at the clubhouse afterwards. While the players themselves should always monitor their own intake and drink responsibly, the golf course may also be responsible for damage caused by their drinking if it sells them the alcohol.

Errant Golf Balls

The question of liability for errant golf balls hinges on whether the person or property that was damaged was actually on the course or simply nearby.  One of the most common types of accidents on the course occurs when one player injures another. The occasional poorly aimed shot can go awry and hit another player on another hole or standing off the course. Ordinarily, landowners, like the golf course, do not have a duty to protect people on their land from obvious dangers, like errant shots on a golf course, but such a duty does arise when the owner can reasonably anticipate the danger. Consequently, if there is an area, such as a clubhouse deck, where missed shots land with some frequency, the course may be liable to the injured player.

Importantly, this protection does not necessarily extend to people who have purchased homes near the golf course. Errant shots do occasionally hit those homes or the people in them, and when that happens courts have found it to be the homeowner’s responsibility. One example of this happened in 2005 when a missed drive struck a woman sitting in her garden. The court refused to award damages based on the legal doctrine of “assumption of risk,” which means that homeowners who buy houses near a course are aware that shots may occasionally land on their property and they accept that risk when they buy the house.

Alcohol on the Course

That golf courses tend to sell alcohol also implicates something known as “dram shop laws.” These are laws that make alcohol distributors liable for the damage caused by drunken patrons in certain circumstances. These laws allow people who have suffered injury or property damage because of a drunken person to sue the business that furnished the liquor, provided that the business sold enough alcohol to be responsible for the person’s drunkenness and that the drunkenness was the cause of the damage.

If you were recently injured on a golf course, contact a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our firm counsels clients in towns around the northwest suburbs, including in Crystal Lake, Buffalo Grove, and Deer Park.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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