Portland Dram Shop/Social Host Liability Lawyer
Drunk driving is one of the leading factors in preventable car accidents in the Portland area. It should go without saying that when a drunk driver causes a crash, they can be held civilly and criminally liable for their actions. In civil terms, the victims and their families can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover their damages arising from the accident.
But what about third parties who contributed to the driver’s intoxication? For instance, could you sue the bar that served the driver just before he got behind the wheel? Or what if they were drinking at a private party? A qualified Portland Dram shop/social host liability lawyer can advise you of your options in these scenarios. Rosenbaum Law Group, PC, is an experienced team of Oregon car accident attorneys who know how to obtain the best results for the clients during a trying and difficult period in their lives.
Oregon’s Laws on Alcohol Vendor Liability
It is possible to hold a licensed alcohol vendor, such as a bar or restaurant, liable for a drunk driving accident under Oregon’s Dram shop law. But the law requires the victims to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the vendor (1) provided alcohol when the driver was “visibly intoxicated” and (2) the victim did not “substantially contribute” to the driver’s intoxication.
To give a simple example, say a person is drinking all night at a bar. The bartender continues to serve the man well past the point of visible intoxication. If the driver then leaves in their car and kills someone in a drunk driving accident, the bar can be held liable.
But let’s say there was a passenger in the same vehicle as the drunk driver. Both individuals had been heavily drinking together, and the passenger actually paid the tab. In that scenario, the passenger would likely not have a viable claim for damages under the Dram shop law since they “substantially contributed” to the driver’s state of intoxication.
Accident victims can also sue a “social host” who furnishes alcohol to guests at their homes. This often comes up in the context of adults who allow minors to drink on their property. Say a homeowner hosts a party and allows his teenage children and their friends to drink. If one of those friends then goes out and hits another car, the people in that vehicle could file a lawsuit against the homeowner.
This raises another important point. Dram shop and social host liability may also attach in cases where the alcohol vendor serves someone who is underage without taking reasonable steps to request identification. If a bartender or host thinks someone looks under 21, they are required to ask for ID before giving them any alcohol.
Contact Rosenbaum Law Group Today
Dram shop and social host liability is in addition to–and not a substitute for–the responsibility of the actual drunk driver. All of these parties can be held liable for a car accident victim’s damages, including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. So if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident and need advice from a skilled Portland Dram shop and social host liability attorney, contact Rosenbaum Law Group, PC, today to schedule a free initial consultation.