Top-Rated Dram Shop & Personal Injury Attorney Serving Multnomah County

Heavy Consequences for Drunk Drivers

dram shopAfter nearly thirty years of fighting by government officials and private individuals and agencies, drunk driving is considered one of the most abhorrent things one can do in our society. Drunk driving is heavily punished by our justice system, both from a criminal and civil perspective.

In other words, drive drunk and you will lose your license, and maybe your freedom. Portland DUI lawyers will tell you that if you drive drunk and hit someone or something with your car, you will be held liable for the damages you’ve caused, whether it is personal injury damages or property damages.

But, what if we turn back the clock? How did that person get here? They may have been over-served.

We’ve all seen that person at the bar. Stumbling and fumbling around, you and your friends wondered how in the world that person was served another cocktail. The truth is, it happens so frequently that it is a problem that has been addressed by the Oregon legislature and courts. Under Oregon’s dram shop laws, a bar or other establishment that serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be held liable for personal injuries caused by that person.

Dram Shop Lawsuits

If a bar over-serves a visibly intoxicated patron, they can be held responsible for the resulting injuries that the drunk driver causes. This is called dram shop liability. Oregon’s dram shop law statute means that if a bar (or any establishment that serves liquor) over-serves someone who then causes a drunk driving accident, the bar itself can be held liable in money damages for the injuries sustained in the accident.

Is There a Drink Limit?

It doesn’t matter how many drinks the bar actually serves the intoxicated patron. Under Oregon’s dram shop laws it is illegal to serve any alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated. Intoxication, for purposes of the dram shop act, means someone whose ability to think and act appropriately has been impacted by drinking.

It is also a violation of Oregon’s dram shop laws to serve alcohol to a minor, and the violation occurs whether or not the minor is drunk.

An establishment can also be held liable for drunk driving personal injuries if they sell alcohol without a license or after hours. Unfortunately, this happens more than you think.

How a Lawyer Can Help

An experienced Portland dram shop liability attorney can research the bar’s history of compliance with Oregon law, including OLCC regulations. Your personal injury attorney can research what went on that night, including attempting to determine how many drinks the drunk driver had at the particular bar and interviewing other patrons to find witnesses to support your case.

Everyone knows that drunk drivers can be held liable for their conduct, but not everyone knows that a bar can be held liable, too. It takes an experienced Oregon car accident attorney to help build and prove your case and maximize your claim against all liable parties.

Sarah Nelson, P.C. represents clients throughout Portland in personal injury cases, including those involving dram shop lawsuits. Call (503) 417-4227 now to schedule your free consultation.