Parents will take much more precautions after they read about the $2.5 million settlement arising from an Illinois car crash involving two minors who were drinking in a Lake County, Illinois family’s home. One of the minors involved in the car accident is now paralyzed from the chest down. Baldwin v. Klairmont et al., No. 07 L 105.
In November 2006 when the minors were drinking beer in the Illinois family’s home, the wife was present and apparently allowed the underage drinking. The lawsuit alleged that the parents had a duty to supervise the activities in their own home. The family’s younger daughter had invited the two minor boys to their home where they proceeded to drink. The lawsuit asserted a negligence claim alleging that the family adults had several opportunities to stop the teens from drinking, but did not.
The teens left in a car after the husband came home and discovered that they were drinking. The vehicle that one of the minor boys was driving crashed into a utility box injuring him and his passenger. The lawsuit was brought under the 2004 Illinois Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act, which allows for civil penalties against adults who serve alcohol to minors and then injure someone else.
The size of the settlement in Baldwin sends a message to parents that they need to be responsible and take control of their children’s actions. If adults don’t take charge then not only can children be harmed as in the case of the minor boys, but the adults themselves can be forced to pay for their carelessness.