Recently, a 16-year-old was killed in a tragic drunk driving accident that took place in Southeast Portland. According to reporting from Fox 12 Oregon, the victim was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the wreck. The responding police officers determined that this was a single-car accident. Based on preliminary information from the Portland Police Bureau, Fox 12 Oregon reported that the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .126 immediately after the crash.
Drunk driving accidents are a serious problem among younger drivers. In far too many cases, teenagers are seriously injured or killed as passengers in DUI accidents. All drivers owe a legal duty to their passengers, and parents, caretakers, and commercial distributors of alcohol must take proper action to protect minors. In this article, our experienced Portland drunk driving accident attorney explains the rights that passengers have after a DUI accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Passenger Injuries in a Single-Car DUI Accident?
First and foremost, the intoxicated driver can, and often will, bear the largest share of the liability for a single-car drunk driving accident. Drunk driving is strictly prohibited. Not only is it unquestionably negligent, but intoxicated driving is also a very serious criminal offense. Drunk drivers (most often through their insurance policy) can be held financially responsible for injuries that they cause to their passengers.
In some cases, the passenger may bear some of the responsibility for their own injuries. This is a complex and controversial issue. Ultimately, it will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. However, Oregon is a comparative negligence jurisdiction. If it can be proven that a victim has engaged in negligent conduct, thereby contributing to their own injuries, then, that victim could be held partially responsible for their own damages.
Third Parties (Parents, Bars, Restaurants, Homeowners, etc)
In single-car DUI accidents that involve an underage driver or an underage passenger, victims and their family members should always be represented by a skilled Portland drunk driving accident lawyer. There are additional considerations in these cases. Victims should work with a DUI accident lawyer who can help them explore additional parties who may be liable for the crash.
As occurred in this most recent accident from Southeast Portland, the intoxicated driver and the victim were under the legal drinking age. An in-depth investigation should be conducted in order to determine precisely how these young people were able to access alcohol. It is possible that parents, other adults, a residential homeowner, or commercial establishment such as a bar or a restaurant may have negligently allowed these minors to access alcohol. If that is proven, they could be held partially liable for the accident.
Contact Our Portland Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Today
At Johnston Law Firm, P.C., our top-rated Portland car accident lawyer is standing by, ready to protect your rights. If you or your loved one was hurt in a wreck with an intoxicated driver, our legal team is here to help. To request a free, no obligation initial consultation, please call our law office today at (503) 546-3167.