Are Bars Liable for Over-Serving After a Drunk Driving Car Accident?

You’ve likely heard the statistics. After all, as unfortunate as it is, drunk driving is not an uncommon occurrence in the United States. In fact, it happens enough to cause 10,000 deaths each year. 

But have you ever stopped to think about how these drunk driving accidents happen in the first place? How does a drunk person at a bar become a drunk person behind the wheel? And why doesn’t anyone stop them before the worst possible scenario happens?

If you’re wondering whether bars are liable for over-serving a patron who goes on to cause a DUI accident, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll discuss the legal repercussions of over-serving in Oregon and Washington. 

Drunk Driving in Oregon

The state of Oregon has enacted “dram shop laws”—which are laws that hold restaurants, taverns, and bars liable for over-serving alcohol to a person who then goes on to cause an accident

To hold an establishment liable for over-serving, the injured person must establish that the driver was “visibly intoxicated.” Of course, this can be difficult to prove in a clear and convincing way. 

Under Oregon law, the injured person must also inform the at-fault establishment of the intent to file a lawsuit. For accidents resulting in injury, the claim must be filed within 180 days of the accident. For accidents resulting in death, the claim must be filed within one year from the date of death.

Drunk Driving in Washington

In the state of Washington, alcohol-serving establishments are also under the same “dram shop laws”. If the person who caused the drunk driving accident was visibly intoxicated and the establishment continued to serve them alcohol, the establishment will be held liable. 

Visible signs of intoxication vary, but may include: 

  • Aggression
  • Blood-shot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Stumbling
  • Coordination problems

Any of these visible signs should signal the server. 

It should be noted that any establishment that serves alcohol to a minor is likewise liable for resulting injuries or death, regardless of their level of intoxication. 

Always Call an Attorney After a DUI Accident

Whether you are the victim or the driver at fault, it’s always wise to consult an attorney after a DUI accident. At Harlan Law Firm, we have years of experience with these kinds of cases and can help victims obtain the compensation they are entitled to. Get in touch by visiting our contact page today.