I Drove Drunk and Got into an Accident. Can a Bar Be Held Responsible?

drinking and driving
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Everyone knows it’s dangerous to drink and drive, but people still do it. Some people are so confident in their driving abilities that they believe they can get home safely after drinking a lot. Even with the ready availability of rideshare solutions in Oregon, some people still take a chance. Sometimes, they do make it home safely. Other times, they get involved in an accident and the responding officer arrests them on suspicion of driving under the influence.

If this happened to you, you’ll have to deal with a lot more than a DUI charge. If you caused someone else to get injured, they will go after you and your insurance company for damages. They will expect to get compensation for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. If you don’t have enough insurance or your insurance company denies the victim’s claim, you may be held personally liable for some of the damages.

One way to avoid this may be to prove that you were not solely responsible for the accident. Your Portland DUI attorney may be able to show that a bar or restaurant overserved you. It’s possible they could be held liable for some of the plaintiff’s injuries under Oregon’s dram shop laws.

Dram Shop Laws Explained

What’s a dram shop? The term has its origins in old English law. Alcohol was served in units called a dram and a dram shop was essentially a tavern. In modern times, dram shop laws apply to all commercial providers of alcohol as well as private individuals who provide alcohol for guests in their home. These laws hold entities responsible for any resulting injuries if they serve alcohol to a person who is obviously already intoxicated.

It’s important to note that even if a bar overserved you, this won’t absolve you of all responsibilities. Your Portland DUI attorney will work hard to get you the best possible outcome in your drunk driving case. However, if you were negligent and you caused someone to get hurt, the victim will seek to recover damages through your car insurance policy.

In Oregon, you should have at least $25,000 in vehicle liability insurance but it may not be sufficient in a crash involving serious injuries. If you don’t have many assets, it may not make sense for the victim to seek compensation from you in your personal capacity. However, bars, taverns, and other commercial entities that sell alcohol must carry liquor liability insurance of at least $300,000. Some businesses even have coverage of up to $1 million for dram shop claims. That’s why the victim may also turn to the bar who served you to recover their losses.

Other Ways to Minimize the Fallout of a Drunk Driving Accident

You need to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the crash. That way, they can investigate the circumstances and find ways to reduce your share of responsibility. Several other people could be held liable including:

  • Another driver involved in the crash
  • An individual whose party you were at before the crash
  • A valet who gave you back your keys when you were obviously drunk

Of course, it all depends on exactly what caused the accident. What you need to know is that getting involved in a drunk driving accident doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Your attorney will look for all possible avenues for getting the DUI charges against you dismissed. This means looking for evidence that:

  • The traffic stop was not legal
  • Your arrest was unlawful
  • The field sobriety test was not administered correctly
  • The breathalyzer machine was not working properly

If none of these options apply and you’re guilty of a DUI, your lawyer will try to get your punishment reduced.

Contact the Trilogy Law Group in Portland Today

Any time you get charged with driving under the influence, you need to contact a DUI lawyer in Portland. This is especially important if the charge followed a car accident. If you get convicted of a DUI, you’ll likely be held responsible for the other driver’s injuries. Your best bet is to get the DUI charges dropped but you won’t be able to do this alone. Contact the team at the Trilogy Law Group today to get an expert legal opinion on your case. We’ll let you know exactly how we can help you. There’s no need to try to handle this situation alone.

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