The Illinois Parental Responsibility Law
Below is a copy of the current Illinois Parental Responsibility Law. This law requires that the parent of an un-emancipated minor who resides with the parent is liable for “actual damages” for the willful or malicious acts of the minor which cause injury to personal property. Attorney fees may be awarded to a plaintiff in any action under the act but if the plaintiff is a governmental unit, attorney fees are capped at fifteen thousand dollars.
It is instructive to note that not only governmental entities but private persons, partnerships, corporations, and charitable organizations may enforce the liability imposed by the Act. However, this liability is limited to twenty thousand dollars actual damages for each person or legal entity for the first act or occurrence, and thirty thousand dollars if there is a “pattern or practice” of such acts by the minor. Such damages are in addition to court costs and attorney fees.
Please also note that Section 6 of the Parental Responsibility Act does not affect recovery of damages in any action where the liability of the parent or legal guardian is “predicated on a common law basis.” This of course effectively neutralizes in some cases the limitations placed upon recovery amounts by the statutory provision.
(740 ILCS 115/) Parental Responsibility Law.
(740 ILCS 115/1) (from Ch. 70, par. 51)
Sec. 1. ¨This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Parental Responsibility Law.”
(Source: P. A. 76-1679.)
(740 ILCS 115/2) (from Ch. 70, par. 52)
“Sec. 2. As used in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the terms specified have the meanings ascribed to them:”
(1) “Legal guardian” means a person appointed guardian, or given custody, of a minor by a circuit court of the State, but does not include a person appointed guardian, or given custody, of a minor under the Juvenile Court Act or the Juvenile Court Act of 1987.
(2) “Minor” means a person who is above the age of 11 years, but not yet 19 years of age. (Source: P.A. 85-1209.)
(740 ILCS 115/3) (from Ch. 70, par. 53)
Sec. 3. Liability. The parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated minor who resides with such parent or legal guardian is liable for actual damages for the wilful or malicious acts of such minor which cause injury to a person or property, including damages caused by a minor who has been adjudicated a delinquent for violating Section 21-1.3 of the Criminal Code of 1961. Reasonable attorney’s fees may be awarded to any plaintiff in any action under this Act. If the plaintiff is a governmental unit, reasonable attorney’s fees may be awarded up to $15,000. ¨The changes to this Section made by this amendatory Act of the 95th General Assembly apply to causes of action accruing on or after its effective date.
(Source: P.A. 95-914, eff. 1/1/09.)
(740 ILCS 115/4) (from Ch. 70, par. 54)
Sec. 4. Any municipal corporation, county, township, village or any other political subdivision or department of the State of Illinois, or the United States or any of its instrumentalities, or any person, partnership, corporation, association or any incorporated or unincorporated religious, educational or charitable organization is entitled to enforce the liability imposed by this Act.
(Source: P.A. 88-406.)
(740 ILCS 115/5) (from Ch. 70, par. 55)
Sec. 5. Limitation on damages; damages allowable. No recovery under this Act may exceed $20,000 actual damages for each person, or legal entity as provided in Section 4 of this Act, for the first act or occurrence of such wilful or malicious acts by the minor causing injury, and $30,000 if a pattern or practice of wilful or malicious acts by a minor exists for a separate act or occurrence, in addition to taxable court costs and attorney’s fees. In determining the damages to be allowed in an action under this Act for personal injury, only medical, dental and hospital expenses and expenses for treatment by Christian Science practitioners and nursing care appropriate thereto may be considered. “The changes to this Section made by this amendatory Act of the 95th General Assembly apply to causes of action accruing on or after its effective date.”
(Source: P.A. 94-130, eff. 7/7/05; 95-914, eff. 1/1/09.)
(740 ILCS 115/6) (from Ch. 70, par. 56)
“Sec. 6.” This Act shall not affect the recovery of damages in any other cause of action where the liability of the parent or legal guardian is predicated on a common law basis.
(Source: P. A. 76-1679.)
(740 ILCS 115/7) (from Ch. 70, par. 57)
“Sec. 7. Section 12-107 of the Code of Civil Procedure, as now or hereafter amended, is not applicable to judgments obtained under this Act.”
(Source: P.A. 82-783.)