Drunk Driving: Victims Have Other Rights
Oregon law permits you to recover both economic and non-economic damages arising from a personal injury. Economic damages include past, present and future medical bills, wage loss, loss of earning potential and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Noneconomic damages include pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, humiliation, any inconvenience and interference with your normal and usual activities, injury to reputation, and any other subjective, nonmonetary losses.
Victims of drunk driving have additional rights. Driving while intoxicated goes beyond mere negligence and generally is considered reckless. Therefore, in addition to the compensation that you normally are entitled to receive, the drunk driver also may be required to pay punitive damages. This is an award of money that is intended to punish the driver that caused the accident. In awarding punitive damages, the jury is permitted to consider what amount of money is necessary to punish the defendant in light of the defendants financial condition.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you also may have a claim against the bar, restaurant or other person that served alcohol to the driver, if the driver was a minor or visibly intoxicated at the time they were served. The deadline for asserting a so-called Dram shop claim against the server may be as short as 180 days. Such claims can be difficult to prove, so it is important to conduct a thorough investigation as soon as possible to preserve evidence for later use in court.
Hit and Run Drivers: Act Quickly
Oregon law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident to stop, remain at the scene, exchange information with the other driver, and lend assistance if the other driver is injured. If the other driver is seriously injured, the failure to perform these duties is a felony.
If you are injured by a hit-and-run driver, you should report the accident to police immediately. As with any car or truck accident, you should get the names and detailed contact information of any witnesses. If the hit-and-run driver cannot be found, you can file a claim against your own auto insurance company for benefits related to uninsured and underinsured motorists. To ensure coverage, you must report the accident to police within 72 hours, and file a required statement with your insurer within 30 days.
A hit-and-run vehicle that causes an accident and does not contact your vehicle is known as a phantom vehicle. If you are hit by a phantom vehicle, you will need an independent witness or other evidence other than your own testimony to substantiate the accident.
Rob Kline is available to discuss your injuries and legal rights. Call today or request a confidential, free case evaluation.
What To Do After An Accident
If you have been in alcohol related car accident, consult an attorney today as there are a number of critical steps you should take to protect yourself and your legal rights. Learn More.