My stepson and a friend, both 16, took some tequila out of my closed liquor cabinet (9:30AM mind you). Result, friend in the hospital, potentially in a coma although I think they were into something else. Am I in the cross hairs of litigation? Should I take some peremptory action and have the friend arrested for stealing?
DearCustomer- Obviously you did not provide the alcohol o any other illegal substance to the children. The problem may be that you can be held responsible for what occurs in your home so you could become a defendant in a civil action. I doubt that filing criminal charges against the other kid is going to help your cause or endear you to the parents of that child.
You may want to report the incident to your homeowners insurance if there have been any threats of a lawsuit since this was not an intentional act of negligence on your part. It is very difficult to stop someone from filing a suit if they choose and filing criminal charges would not stop that type of action.
The question would become whether you had taken sufficient precautions to keep the alcohol out of the reach of the kids. This is similar to situations where guns are kept on the premises. I doubt there could be any criminal action taken against you but in some areas there are local ordinances that make parents responsible if liquor is consumed on the premises by minors.
Even though the kids are legally minors they are still old enough to know the consequences of their actions. At this point there's not much you can do to change the events that have already happened. Hopefully the other boy's injuries will heal and that there will be no permanent consequences.
I would advise that you not discuss this situation with anyone except an attorney or your insurance carrier. You don't want to make things worse by making any statements that later could be used against you.
David Kennett - JD - Attorney at Law
Thank you very much. Quick and very much to the point. Thanks for talking me off the ledge.
No problem and thanks for using our service - Dave
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).