The legal alcohol limit in Oregon is 0.08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). However, contrary to public perception, a driver can still be charged with a DUII (Driving While Under the Influence of Intoxicants) with a BAC below this limit, if the driver fails tests and/or shows signs of being “under the influence of alcohol”.
When a driver causes a car accident that injures or kills another person, the victim (or victim’s family, in the case of a wrongful death), can file a civil claim against the drunk driver. Simultaneously, the drunk driver will also be involved with a criminal case through the District Attorney’s (DA) office. The process of filing a claim against a drunk driver is much the same as filing a claim against any negligent driver who causes injury to another person. If the drunk driver has auto insurance then the claim is against the at-fault insurance company. If that insurance policy does not provide adequate coverage, a claim can also be filed with the victim’s own auto insurance through the Underinsured Motorist (UIM) portion their coverage. If the drunk driver is driving while uninsured, then the victim’s own auto insurance will provide coverage through an Uninsured Motorist (UM) claim.
Like with any other car accident claim, the victim’s own auto insurance (PIP) will pay for the medical bills up to $15,000 or for up to two years, whichever comes first. At the resolution of the case, PIP will be reimbursed from the at-fault insurance. They will typically handle their reimbursement through inter-company arbitration, however, in some instances they will request that the plaintiff recover their subrogation amount as part of any potential settlement.
It is essential to obtain a copy of the police report which will outline the DUII charges and the BAC of the drunk driver. This will typically come from the DA’s office when they are able to release documents from the criminal portion of the case.
Oregon DUI Lawyer
As with other personal injury claims, drunk driving claims encompass both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover all of the medical bills, lost wages, and other pecuniary losses (basically anything that can be proven financially). Non-economic losses encompass all of the intangible losses, commonly referred to as “pain and suffering”. If a lawsuit is filed on a drunk driving claim, “punitive damages” can also be included as part of the “prayer” amount. This amount is to punish the drunk driver and deter the drunk driver from making the same negligent and unlawful act again.
During the investigation and discovery process, it is important to determine where the drunk driver consumed alcohol. If it can be proven that the drunk driver was served alcohol while “visibly intoxicated”, then a Dram Shop claim can be filed against the establishment that served the alcohol. This provides another layer of insurance coverage for the drunk driving claim. Contact us for more information on our services as Oregon drunk driving lawyer.