Illinois Car Crash Settles for $1.5 Million Under Illinois’ new law Regarding Serving Alcohol to Minors

By September 25, 2007Settlements

A $1.5 million settlement was reached in a car crash for a teen who were seriously injured in a car accident following a party at an equestrian center where alcohol was served to minors. The state Act had taken effect 29 days before the accident under the Illinois Drug or Alcohol Impaired Minor Responsibility Act.
At the party, free kegs of beer were available to all guests and minors were not required to provide identification. After the girls left the party, the driver made an illegal left turn and
crossed the two southbound lanes where the car was hit by a tractor-trailer truck. The injured teen who was in the back seat, was thrown out of the car and suffered serious neurological injuries. The injury is permanent, restricts use of her left hand and leg. None of the other girls was injured.
This law imposes civil liability against persons over 18 who allow minors to drink, if a minor becomes impaired and injures or kills another. Prior to this law neither Missouri nor Illinois recognized what is know as social host liability. This law is a good step toward imposing civil liability on persons who serve alcohol to minors who then injure other people.
I practice law in both Illinois and Missouri and many clients are shocked to find out that they did not have a cause of action under Illinois or Missouri law against someone who provides alcohol to minors who then injure them. The law is based on the assumption that serving alcohol is not the proximate cause of the accident, but the person who caused the accident was the proximate cause. This new law in Illinois serves a good purpose and should be more broadly adopted in other states including Missouri.