I graduated high school in a rural coastal community.  Every few years a dark cloud would hang over the high school graduation as the names of students that were recently killed in a car crash would be read to the audience.  In my experience ,the loss of a loved one is incomprehensible and the void it leaves in your heart is everlasting.  The stresses of losing a loved one to a DUII driver are often compounded when a DUII driver kills or seriously injures a person and and only has minimal insurance coverage.  Medical bills will quickly chew through a policy and parents may be left with mountains of debt related to medical costs.

However, in Oregon there may be a way to obtain compensation from additional insurance policies.   Homeowner’s can be held responsible for serving alcohol to a person that is visibly intoxicated and later injures another in a DUII crash. (ORS 471.565). Oregon courts have determined that a person who receives guests in a social or commercial setting, in which the host serves or directs the serving of alcohol to guests can be held accountable if the overly intoxicated person later injures another in a  DUII crash.  See Solberg v. Johnson,306 Or 484, 490 (1988).  This type of liability is referred to as “Dram Shop” liability.  Dram Shop liability is important to remember because home owner’s and renter’s insurance policies may cover DUII crash injuries and provide tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, in additional insurance coverage. This money can be used to pay medical bills, physical therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and to compensate the injured person or their family for their harms and losses.

It is important to keep in mind if you intend on making a dram shop claim there are time limitations that notice must be given in.  Specifically, if it is a wrongful death claim then notice must be given within one year of the date of death, or within a year after the date plaintiff discovered, or should have discovered, the claim, whichever is later. (ORS 471.565)  In a personal injury matter, notice must be given within 180 days of the injury, or 180 days after the injured person discovered or reasonably should have discovered, the existence of a dram shop claim which ever is later. (ORS 471.565)  However, these notice requirements may not always apply and there are exceptions.  Please refer to a current version of ORS 471.565 for notice requirements and time limitations.

Dram shop cases can be complicated and there are other theories an attorney can use to attempt to obtain maximum recovery for a person’s injury or loss.  Please contact Portland Personal Injury Attorney, Jeremiah Ross, at 503.224.1658. for a free personal injury consultation.  Please remember this post is for informational purposes only and you should rely on the current statute and case law when considering a dram shop claim.  Please consult with an attorney if you believe you have a dram shop claim or have been injured by a DUII Driver