The big game. A bachelorette party. A breakup. A reunion. The reason behind excessive drinking doesn’t really matter when someone ends up hurt as a result.
If the actions of an intoxicated driver have caused you to suffer injuries, there are several legal avenues you can explore. Certainly, the person who caused the injuries may be held accountable for their actions. This can result in fines, loss of driver’s license, jail time, and compensating you for the harm you suffered, which includes your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
In some cases, you can also seek contribution from the establishment that sold the alcohol to the person in the first place. A commercial liquor liability attorney can help you navigate the legal system and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Dram shop laws can protect you
It is illegal for any business with a liquor license to serve people who are under the legal drinking age, which is 21 across the country, or who are already visibly intoxicated.
When a restaurant, nightclub, or bar serves alcohol to someone too young or too intoxicated, that business can be held liable for any injuries the person causes. These laws are known as dram shop laws, and they often come into play after a drunk-driving accident. (The word “dram” means a small amount of alcohol. A dram shop is a legal term for a business that sells alcohol.)
You may also hear this concept referred to as over-serving or commercial liquor liability. Both Oregon and Washington have dram shop laws in place that allow an injured party to shttps://www.priceinjurylaw.com/liquor-liability-attorney/ue for damages.
Businesses and servers know the law
Any business that has a liquor license knows the responsibility that accompanies it. These businesses are responsible for training their staff and managers to adhere to state dram shop laws.
State agencies even provide online resources to help. For example, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has published a poster of “50 Signs of Visible Intoxication” that servers and bartenders should consider before they pour someone a drink. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board also offers a brochure to educate alcohol servers to stay within the law.
Before anyone can serve alcohol in Oregon and Washington, they must obtain a Service Permit, a requirement that has been in place for decades. Before applying for this permit, applicants must complete a course that covers their professional duties to promote responsible drinking and their legal obligations. Alcohol servers must repeat this class on a regular basis to keep current with the law and renew their permit. Anyone who serves a minor or a visibly intoxicated person knows they are violating the law.
Hire a Commercial Liquor Liability Attorney
Oregon and Washington have very specific commercial liquor liability laws in place. That doesn’t mean it’s an open and shut legal case. These cases are often complicated, and it takes a professional lawyer to connect the events to the incident that causes the injuries and prove that the server knew the person they served was underage or visibly intoxicated.
A dram shop lawsuit must be filed within a certain time-frame. For example, a wrongful death lawsuit, or a legal action seeking compensation for injuries, must be filed within two years in Oregon, or three years in Washington. If the lawsuit is against an Oregon public entity, a claim must be made within 180 days.
Whether you live in Olympia or Portland, hire a commercial liquor liability attorney who understands the ins and out of dram shop laws. The Law Office of Gregory E. Price exclusively represents individuals injured by the negligence of others in Southwest Washington and the greater Portland metropolitan area.
Our office can help you through what can be a very difficult process. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have.