According to a new report released in JAMA Pediatrics, heavy and extreme binge drinking is a fairly common practice among teens (http://apne.ws/1aLkIbG). The study found that one in ten seniors in high school routinely drink ten or more alcoholic beverages at one time, results that have remained steadily high over the last six years.
This type of binge drinking leads to greater rates of alcoholism in adulthood and, according to researchers, “’is really concerning because (these teens are) most at risk for the really severe consequences,’ including reckless driving, car accidents and alcohol poisoning.”
Parents have cause for concern about not only the health effects of binge drinking but also the personal injury liability to which they may be exposing themselves.
The state of Missouri holds parents personally responsible for the purposeful acts of harm their minor children inflict onto the property or person of another, as long as the parents are included in the original complaint. The types of harm include acts of vandalism, theft, shoplifting, personal injury, and property damage. The maximum penalty attributed to parents for injuries committed by minors is two thousand dollars.
Although the statute does not specifically mention property harmed as a result of intoxication—such as driving impaired and hitting something on the way back home—this would arguably be the result of having had alcohol made readily available to them.
While the state allows parents to serve their own children alcoholic beverages, the benefit must still be reasonable. Plus, there is no state law allowing parents to give another’s child alcohol, especially if that child then engages in heavy or extreme binge drinking.
If you have suffered a personal injury or had property harmed at the hands of a minor, consulting with a personal injury attorney will allow you to discuss the circumstances and available options for recovery.