DUII

Who Can be Held Liable if You Are Injured by a Rowdy Tailgater or a DUII Driver?

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.  

Video Courtesy of youtube.  Ross Law Does not Condone fighting. Tailgate fight

 

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!

WHAT TO DO WHEN A DRUNK DRIVER HITS YOU

Everyone knows Drinking and Driving (DUI) is illegal in Oregon. However, people need to understand that the fear of getting arrested should not be the only concern when a DUII driver gets behind the wheel.  Statistics for the State of Oregon note hundreds of injuries and fatalities that result from DUI crashes each year.  Alcohol, controlled substances, marijuana, and prescription drugs are all contributing factors to these crashes.   Below is a terrifying video of a DUII driver that is lucky to be alive.

As a result, the law allows injured people in certain circumstances to collect additional compensation from the DUI driver that injured them.  An injured party can obtain punitive damages from a DUII driver.  An injured party may also be able to collect money from a bar that over-served the DUII driver.

The question then becomes what should you do if you are hit by a DUII driver.  The following list should assist you in obtaining compensation when you are involved in a crash with a suspected DUII Driver:

  1. Report the Crash to the Police Immediately if you suspect you were injured by a DUII driver.  Many police departments do not respond to minor crashes, but will respond to a crash involving a DUII driver.  It is imperative to call 911 if you suspect you were in a crash with a DUII driver.
  2. Gather information from the DUII driver regarding where the DUII driver was consuming alcohol or the controlled substances.  This may give rise to an additional dram shop claim.
  3. Gather Witness information and contact information.   If someone saw any part of the crash or spoke with the DUI driver  get the witnesses address, phone number, or email.  Also it may help to take a photo of a witness’s license plate so you can look them up in the future if necessary.
  4. Take Photos.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.  Cell phone photos of the crash scene, and maybe an empty beer bottle is powerful evidence to assist in the prosecution of the DUI driver and to assist you in your personal injury case.
  5. Contact your Auto Insurance company immediately and inform them you think you were hit by a DUII driver.  Provide them the police officer’s name and report information.
  6.  If you, or a loved one, are seriously injured, call a personal injury attorney immediately and cooperate with law enforcement.  Many times the DUI Driver’s minimal insurance policy of $25,000.00 will be expended by a two day hospital stay.   This leaves the injured party with nothing, and only reduces the medical bills they will be forced to pay if they don’t have other insurance sources.   It is important to contact a personal injury attorney so the attorney can investigate all potentially liable parties.  An investigation may reveal additional sources of insurance that will provide the injured person compensation in the future.
  7. Cooperate with the District Attorney if you are asked to come to court or send documents to the District Attorney.

The above list is not exhaustive, and your situation will likely vary.  However, these are things to keep in mind if you are hit by a DUII driver in Oregon.  If you are injured by a DUII driver in Oregon call Portland Oregon Personal Injury Attorney Jeremiah Ross for yourfree  personal injury consultation.  Cal 503.224.1658.  This post is not to be considered legal advice, so please call a lawyer.

GRADUATION IS HERE…HOMEOWNER’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR SERVING ALCOHOL TO A DUII DRIVER

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

ROSS LAW SALUTES VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES…

Ross Law LLC would like to take this opportunity to thank military Veterans and their families for the sacrifices they have made for this Country.  Ross Law is honored to assist military veterans with legal issues they may be facing and offers military Veterans discounted fees for DUII Defense.  If you are a Veteran and have a legal issue, feel free to contact Ross Law LLC  503.224.1658 to briefly discuss the issue  with Jeremiah Ross. 

Please remember this post is for informational purposes only and does not create an Attorney Client relationship.  Please discuss your matter with an Attorney or a Veterans Service Representative and do not rely solely on this post.  

THE “TREAT” YOU DON’T WANT ON HALLOWEEN… A DUII ARREST

Oregonians celebrating Halloween should be aware that they can be arrested and convicted of DUII even if their BAC is under .08%.  In Oregon, the law does not prohibit people from drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel unless it impairs their ability to drive. The impairment can be the slightest physical or mental impairment.  This is why many people are surprised the DA is still charging them with a DUII despite the fact the breath machine registered their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) below a .08%.

These “low blow” DUIs can be more common around the holidays.  Police Departments usually increase patrols on Halloween and the weekends around Halloween.  Officers are trolling for DUII Drivers trying to get them off the road.  As a result, the officers are hyper sensitive to DUII drivers and may be overzealous when it comes to making the call whether to arrest a DUI suspect.  Although Police Officers may disagree, Field Sobriety Tests are subjective.  This means that the officers can develop probable cause to arrest the DUI suspect based solely on their opinion the person was too impaired to be driving. As a result, a person can have one or two drinks and find themselves being arrested for DUII.   The officer may error on the side of caution to get the driver off of the road, but the Driver may be facing DUII charges based on the questionable arrest.   

 You don’t want to be the person sitting in jail in the bumble bee costume, so please don’t drive after drinking alcohol.  If you are arrested for DUII you need to be aware of your rights and options.  Diversion may not always the best option in a “low blow” DUII situation.  Call Jeremiah Ross and Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658 for your free DUII consultation.  Please remember this post is not legal advice and is for informational purposes only.  Please consult with an Oregon Lawyer regarding the specific facts in your DUII case. Also, this post does not create an Attorney Client relationship.