Portland DUI Accident Victim Lawyer
DUI Accident Attorney Serving Portland and Oregon.
Alcohol-related traffic accidents are often serious, life-changing events. In 2018, thirty percent (30%) of the driving fatalities had some connection to alcohol impairment. Nearly 30 people die every day from drunk-driving accidents in the U.S. In the last ten (10) years, while alcohol-impaired driving fatalities have gone down nationally, they have actually gone up in Oregon by over 20%. An astonishing 87% of alcohol-related fatalities involve a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over .15. (https://www.responsibility.org/alcohol-statistics/state-map/state/oregon). These statistics make Oregon one of the more dangerous states in the U.S. for drunk driving, despite over 13,000 DUI citations being issued in 2018 alone.
Accidents caused by drunk drivers are far more dangerous than traditional accidents, due to the slow reaction times of drunk drivers and the inability of a drunk driver to properly react to traffic and road conditions. Jonah Flynn aggressively pursues drunk driving injury and death claims against drivers, commercial drivers, and insurance companies. In some instances, a bar, restaurant, or “social host” who served a visibly intoxicated drivers who end up causing accidents. Other lawyers may give up or not take a difficult drunk driving case, because they require extensive work and may require expert testimony regarding the intoxicated state of the driver. Quickly securing important evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance camera footage, and materials and evidence from the scene of the accident is critical
Legal Blood Alcohol Content in Oregon
Driving under the influence is a crime in Oregon and a driver can be charged criminally if their Blood Alcohol Content is greater than:
- Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In Oregon, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
- Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when any amount of alcohol is in their blood.
A blood alcohol level of under .08 BAC does not mean a driver is not “impaired” or drunk; a driver can still be charged if that driver consumed any alcohol or drugs and was a “less safe” and impaired driver. Either way, drunk driving cases often give rise to a claim for punitive damages.
Were you injured by a drunk driver who was served at a party, bar, or restaurant?
Restaurants, bars, and social hosts have a duty to refrain from serving “visibly intoxicated” patrons and guests. They also have a duty to refrain from serving underage patrons. If they serve visibly intoxicated patrons or minors, and one of those patrons causes an accident, the bar, restaurant, or social host may be liable. Excessive alcohol consumption, or drug use, often plays a role in personal injury cases.
Where the drunk driver was either drunk or “visibly impaired” at a bar or restaurant, the bar or restaurant may be liable for your injuries. It’s illegal to sell or serve alcohol to anyone visibly intoxicated — this includes the inability to walk or talk, visible aggression towards other patrons, stumbling, slurring of speech, loud conduct, and bloodshot eyes. These claims can be difficult because few bartenders and restaurant servers will admit a patron looked drunk yet they kept serving the patron anyway. Toxicology experts can form opinions as to whether the customer would have appeared drunk based upon blood alcohol testing conducted at the scene of an accident; eyewitness testimony is more important, however.
It is illegal to sell alcohol to minors, regardless of whether they are intoxicated. If a bar, restaurant, or social host a) served someone who was visibly intoxicated, or b) served a minor, you likely have a claim against that bar, restaurant, or social host if you are then injured by the drunk patron.
Time is of the essence:
Under the law, you only have 180 days from the date of your accident to issue written notice to the bar or restaurant that you intend to sue them. The notice must provide information regarding the circumstances of your injuries. If a death is involved, then the notice must be issued within one year of the accident.
Higher burden of proof:
Because of successful lobbying by the bar and restaurant industry, the rules for suing a bar or restaurant for serving someone already visibly intoxicated who then caused the injury are different than the rules for suing others. Normally, the burden of proof is the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. But, with liquor liability cases, the burden of proof which must be met is the “clear and convincing” standard; that is, the injured victim is required to prove, by “clear and convincing” evidence, that the bar or restaurant provided alcohol to a “visibly intoxicated” person or minor.
INSURANCE OFTEN COVERS BARS, RESTAURANTS, AND SOCIAL HOSTS WHO OVERSERVE VISIBLY INTOXICATED GUESTS AND MINORS
Under Oregon Law, any bar or restaurant which has a liquor license is required to have a “liquor liability” policy of at least $ 300,000.00. Because “liquor liability” claims often involve severe injury or death, most liquor license holders have far more insurance than the minimum.
Liability for social hosts is often covered under a traditional homeowner’s insurance policy or renters insurance policy.
Damages recoverable in a drunk driving accident
Drunk driving accident victims can recover damages for:
- Property damage
- Medical Bills and Expenses
- Future Medical Expenses
- Lost wages and Income, Including Lost wages in the future
- Permanent Injury
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Psychological distress
- Future Emotional distress
- Punitive damages – intended to punish the drunk driver or bar/restaurant for their reckless actions and deter them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
- Wrongful death: If a drunk driving accident is fatal, the next of kin can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Portland to recover
The aftermath of a drunk driving accident can be a difficult time for everyone involved. These injuries are life-changing: the injuries sustained in drunk driving accidents are usually worse than what occurs in normal auto accidents. Cases against negligent bars and restaurants which serve visibly intoxicated patrons require quick action to gather and secure evidence. Call the Portland accident attorney Jonah Flynn at 503-303-0600 or 888-353-5995, or fill out the “contact us” form below.