Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

Joliet Office


Plainfield Office


Understanding the Illinois Parental Responsibility Law

Posted on

parental liability law, liable, malicious intent, Illinois personal injury attorney, When a child conducts an act that leads to the personal injury or harm of another person, the question of liability almost immediately arises. Because of the Illinois Parental Responsibility Law (IPRL), found at 740 ILCS 115 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, a parent or legal guardian can be held legally liable for their child's intentional and purposeful acts that cause another person's personal injury and subsequent harm.

The Parties Involved in the Claim Process

Under the IPRL, the parent(s) or legal guardian of an Illinois minor can be held liable for the actions committed by the minor child. The term legal guardian encompasses those people who were “appointed guardian, or given custody, of a minor by a circuit court of the State.” However, the term legal guardian does not apply to a person who an Illinois  juvenile court appointed as the child's guardian. The minors whose actions are governed by the IPRL include any child who is over the age of 11, but younger than  19 years of age or older. Furthermore, the IPRL does not apply to any child within this age bracket that has been emancipated from their family by a court. Lastly, in order for the IPRL to apply, the minor must actually live with their legal guardian or parent.

When Does the IPRL Apply?

The IPRL does not apply to all conduct of a minor that results in damages or injury. In fact, the IPRL does not typically apply to those “true accidents” that, even if the minor was at fault, were due to mere negligence as opposed to true intention to bring about the damage or injury. The IPRL only imposes liability when a minor's malicious or willful acts caused injury to another individual, or to the personal or real property of another. To understand when the IPRL would apply, it requires a careful consideration of whether the conduct that resulted in the injuries or damages was indeed purposeful in nature. For example, a car accident caused by a minor driver's inattention or other act of carelessness would generally not result in liability being imposed on that child's parent via the IPRL. However, a child's decision to vandalize the property of another could result in liability for the expenses and costs of repairing the damages caused by the vandalism.

Damages Under the IPRL

Parents found liable under the IPRL are only responsible for real and actual damages that resulted from the injuries caused by their minor child. Thus, medical expenses, repairs and other expenses incurred by the injured party may demand compensation, while punitive and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, would not be awarded in an IPRL case. However, reasonable attorney's fees can also be imposed on the parents of the minor child. Lastly, the total damage award for parental liability is capped at $20,000 for actual damages experienced by each individual person or entity that was injured by the first occurrence of the minor's willful and/or malicious conduct that caused that injury. When there is a practice or pattern of willful and/or malicious acts, damages of up to $30,000 can be awarded in conjunction with attorney's fees and taxable court costs.

If you have been injured by the malicious acts of a child, it is imperative that you speak with a personal injury attorney who can help you label the liable party. Contact the experienced Illinois personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Cosmo Tedone and Barbara Morton, P.C., in Joliet and Naperville for help recovering compensation to help make you whole again.
  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
Back to Top