Injured by a Drunk Driver Leaving a Holiday Party? Throwing a Party? Things you Need to Know

The Holiday Season is in full swing.  People are shopping, decorating, and atttending the various holiday festivities here in Portland.  Many people are also dusting off their ugly holiday sweater and attending Holiday Parties.   I am a huge fan of Holiday Parties and a bigger fan of tacky sweaters, but I can't stand people that drink and drive.  Unfortunately, drinking and driving occurs far too often during the Holiday Season.  This can turn the Holiday season into a tragic event for anyone involved in a crash with a DUII Driver.  Socieity has little tolerance for DUII Drivers, but here in Oregon the law also allows the injured person to hold all people accountable for causing their injuries.   This includes the business or people that over-served the DUII driver alcohol.

In Oregon, 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 a person who receives guests in a social setting, in which the host serves or directs the serving of booze or beer 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 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.   Dram Shop liability also applies to a business that over-serves a visibly intoxicated person that ends up harming another.

Hopefully this guy is not driving home.  If he does, and injures someone the party host may be liable.

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.