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Can I Sue My Child’s Friend for Killing Them in a Car Accident? 

 Posted on December 16, 2022 in Wrongful Death

Peoria Car Crash LawyerFew people would doubt that young adults are not always wise decision-makers, but sometimes the actions of a minor cross the boundary from unwise to careless or even malicious. When this happens, the consequences for the minor’s peers can be disastrous. When vehicles are involved, this is especially true, since bad driving can have dangerous and even fatal consequences. Road racing, speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or reckless joyriding have all resulted in fatalities in Illinois. 

If you lost your child in a car accident because one of your child’s friends was driving dangerously, you may be wondering whether you can take legal action against the responsible young adult or his or her parents. To learn more about this area of Illinois law, read on and then contact an Illinois wrongful death attorney who can help you determine whether to move forward. 

What is the Illinois Parental Responsibility Law? 

Young adults up to 19 years of age who still live with their parents may be covered by the Illinois Parental Responsibility Law, depending on their actions and the consequences thereof. True accidents - in which the minor was responsible but not because of malicious or intentional actions - are not covered by this law. Instead, it covers minors who act in “willful or malicious” ways and cause damage to another person’s body or property. This can be a cloudy area of law because proving intent can be difficult, especially if the responsible minor is dead or seriously injured themselves.  

Furthermore, damages in lawsuits filed under the Parental Responsibility Law are limited to “actual” damages, meaning damages that are financially quantifiable. Medical expenses, funeral costs, property damage, and attorneys’ fees are included in actual damages. Other damages, like pain and suffering, are not eligible for compensation. And there is a $20,000-$30,000 cap placed on the parents’ liability, depending on the nature of the event. 

However, there are often other options open to parents whose child has died because of another young adult’s actions. For example, if parents know their child to be reckless or dangerous, common law generally places them under an obligation to prevent their child from causing foreseeable harm. Parents might be negligent, for example, if they allow their child to drive when the child has a history of reckless or inebriated driving. 

Whether you will be able to recover damages in your case will depend on the specifics of the case, as well as the ability to prove fault and damages. An attorney can help you investigate the case, gather evidence, and, if appropriate, take legal action against the parents of the individual responsible for your child’s death. 

Contact a Springfield, IL Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a child because of the careless actions of another person is something no parent should have to experience. At Kanoski Bresney, we know that taking action against the person responsible for your child’s death will not bring your child back, but it can be one way to seek justice after the unthinkable happens. Call us today at 888-826-8682 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our sensitive, experienced Peoria, IL wrongful death attorneys. We are here to manage the burden of the investigation and lawsuit so you can focus on healing and recovering. 



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