It is College Football season again. Oregonians flock to Autzen Stadium or Reser Stadium to see their beloved Ducks and Beavers battle on the turf. Here in Portland people flood into Providence Park to see the Portland State Pilots. These fun outings can become tragic when alcohol, drugs, and/or stupidity meld together. When that occurs people can get hurt. That leads us to the question, who is liable for a person injured by an intoxicated person. The obvious answer is the intoxicated person that actually injures another person. However, the analysis does not stop here.
Oregon's Dram shop law allows other people to be held responsible for the intoxicated person's actions. This law allows a person injured by an intoxicated person to hold the social host liable for over-serving an intoxicated person. Also, the bars around Providence Park in Portland should be aware they can be liable to a person injured by an over-intoxicated person if the visibly-intoxicated person was served alcohol while visibly intoxicated.
Examples always make this easier to understand. Imagine Jon is going to the PSU game and stops off at a bar for a drink. Jon stays at the bar with his friends and becomes trashed. He consumes eight shots of whisky in an hour and is struggling to stand. The bar tender continues to serve him despite his rowdy behavior. Jon then walks towards Providence to see his beloved Pilots play. On the way he sees a person wearing a Montana Jersey. Without provocation, Jon attacks the Montana Fan. Jon seriously injured the Montana fan. The Montana fan has a permanent brain injury and hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills. Jon is prosecuted, but doesn't have any money, so the Montana fan has little hope of Jon ever paying his medical bills. However, the Montana Fan's lawyer discovers Jon was drinking at a bar and was over-served. The Attorney sends the bar the proper notice. The bar's insurance policy may cover the Montana Fan's medical bills. The bar may also be forced to compensate Montana Fan for all of his harms and losses from the beating, and the bar may have to pay the injured person Punitive Damages.
Imagine another situation where Jenny is tailgating at the Ducks game. She is at a tailgate party hosted by Marcia. Marcia provided a few bottles of liquor and has cases of beer for anyone to drink. Jenny gets into the Vodka, and Marcia keeps it flowing. Marcia has a rule at her tailgates "Hell no H20," and continues to serve Jenny more and more alcohol. Jenny begins to stagger around and vomits all over a neighboring tailgater's car. Marcia gives Jenny one more Vodka Tonic as Jenny staggers off. Jenny then gets into her car and attempts to drive to her aparment near campus. Jenny begins to drive home and then veers off of the road and crashes into a group of students walking to the Duck's game. The three students are seriously injured. Jenny's minimal $25,000/$50,000 policy limits is quickly subsumed by the students hospital bills. One of the Student's Personal Injury attorney reads the police report and discovers that Jenny was drinking at Marcia's tailgate party. The student's attorney sends a demand to Marcia for the "dram shop" liability. Marcia's $1,000,000.00 umbrella policy covers the crash. The attorney also believes the University was not providing adequate supervision because there were other reports of Marcia's guest being out of control and drinking heavily. In fact, one of the Security Guards didn't do anything when another tailgater complained of the heavy drinking and was concerned Jenny may drive home. The Student's attorney may now be able to prove a case of negligence against the Security Company and the University. The student may collect maximum compensation for his injuries because all of the wrongdoers will be held accountable.
These are just two examples of social host and dram shop liability. Anytime a person is injured by a heavily intoxicated person social host or dram shop liability may come into play. For more information about dram shop liability read my previous article. It may assist an injured person obtaining compensation that would otherwise not be available. These cases often involve assault and battery, sexual assault, rape, and DUII driving.
If you have been injured, assaulted, or rapted as a result of a heavily intoxicated person in Oregon please call me at 503.224.1658 to discuss your case. Ross Law provides Free Consultations. We do not charge you anything unless we recover. Please remember this post is not to be considered legal advice. Also, please remember the law is constantly changing. Please consult with an Oregon Personal Injury or Crime Victim Attorney at 503.224.1658 instead of relying on this post. This Post, the web-site, and blog may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING!