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Can You Sue a Bartender if You are Injured by a Drunk Driver in Oregon?

Being hurt in a drunk driving accident can result in life-altering catastrophic injury or death. If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a drunk driver who was overserved at an establishment in Oregon, the owner of the bar or restaurant may be liable for damages. At Johnson and Taylor, our vehicle accident lawyers can evaluate your case, help you understand whether a dram shop injury lawsuit may be appropriate, and assist you with pursuing compensation for your injuries and losses.

What is Dram Shop Liability?

Dram shop law in Oregon is designed to hold a bartender and/or establishment responsible for injuries and losses if they served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who caused a drunk driving accident. Like many other states, Oregon also has a social host liability law, which holds private hosts liable for injuries, accidents, and deaths caused by serving alcohol to minors or intoxicated adults. Dram shop law is complex, so if you are considering filing an injury lawsuit against an establishment or host, it is vital to seek the counsel of an experienced vehicle accident lawyer.

Elements of Proving Dram Shop Liability in Oregon

Like any other personal injury lawsuit, for a dram shop claim to be successful you must prove who was at fault. Your personal injury lawyer will gather evidence and put it all together to show that:

  • A bartender, establishment, or social host served alcohol to a person who was already visibly intoxicated.
  • The intoxicated person’s actions caused the accident and your injuries

Wrongful Death Dram Shop Claims

If you’ve lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, a wrongful death lawyer can evaluate your case and advise you of whether you have a viable claim to hold an establishment or social host liable for damages. These cases can be challenging to prove. Finding a vehicle accident lawyer who has experience handling wrongful death claims and is well-versed in Oregon dram shop law is a must.

Statutes of Limitations in Oregon

There are certain time limits on how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Oregon. Typically, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death case is usually three years. Although this may seem like it gives you a significant amount of time to file a claim, it is important to act fast. Valuable evidence can be lost and memories fade over time. Contacting a motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible after a drunk driving accident gives you a better chance of recovering the maximum compensation you need and deserve.

Recovering Damages in Dram Shop Claims

It can be easy to underestimate the physical, emotional, and financial costs of being injured in a crash. A catastrophic injury lawyer knows how to put an accurate value on your claim and fight to help you recover damages such as:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship and consortium

If the actions of a bartender, establishment, or social host were particularly egregious, you may be able to pursue punitive damages as well, though this is very rare. A personal injury lawyer can thoroughly assess your case, inform you of its viability and the best course of action for recovering compensation, and guide you through the legal process.

Contact Our Vehicle Accident Attorneys to Learn More about Dram Shop Law in Oregon

At Johnson and Taylor, our dedicated team understands that being injured or losing someone you love in a drunk driving accident can be devastating. Whether you need assistance with a personal injury case, divorce and family law matters, or estate planning and probate, we’re here for you. Our catastrophic injury lawyers and car accident attorneys serve clients in Salem, Eugene, Bend, the Oregon Coast, Medford, and throughout the state of Oregon. Our experienced team includes Spanish-speaking attorneys and staff.