Salem Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
Aggressive Legal Advocacy for Your Needs
Drunk driving accidents are one of the most preventable types of accidents in the United States. Thousands of people are injured or killed in drunk driving accidents every year. If you were injured or if someone you know was the victim of a drunk driving accident, you need aggressive legal advocacy.
At Elmer & Brunot, PC, we are committed to holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions. We know how to investigate these accidents and how to build strong cases that can hold negligent drivers responsible for their actions. We have the resources and the know-how to fight for you and to help you recover the compensation you need to move forward.
If you were injured in a drunk driving accident or if someone you know was killed, you need to speak with an attorney right away. Oregon has a strict statute of limitations for personal injury claims and wrongful death claims, so you will need to act quickly.
What Are the Common Causes of Drunk Driving Accidents?
Drunk driving accidents are caused by a variety of factors. Some of the most common causes of drunk driving accidents include:
Impaired Judgment: Alcohol affects decision-making abilities, leading to risky behaviors such as speeding, aggressive driving, or failing to yield.
Reduced Coordination: Alcohol impairs motor skills and coordination, making it difficult for drivers to react quickly or maintain proper control of their vehicles.
Slowed Reaction Time: Alcohol consumption slows down reaction times, making it challenging for drivers to respond promptly to changing road conditions or unexpected events.
Poor Concentration: Alcohol can result in a lack of focus and concentration, increasing the likelihood of distracted driving and the inability to notice critical details on the road.
Overconfidence: Some individuals under the influence may become overconfident and underestimate the extent of their impairment, leading to reckless driving.
Fatigue: Alcohol can exacerbate fatigue, causing drowsiness and reducing a driver's alertness, increasing the risk of accidents.
Inability to Judge Speed and Distance: Alcohol impairs depth perception, making it difficult for drivers to accurately judge the speed and distance of other vehicles.
Aggressive Behavior: Alcohol can contribute to aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating, road rage, and aggressive maneuvers that increase the risk of accidents.
Weather Conditions: Impaired drivers may struggle even more in adverse weather conditions, such as rain or snow, where heightened attention and quick responses are crucial.
Failure to Obey Traffic Laws: Impaired individuals may disregard traffic signals, speed limits, and other traffic regulations, increasing the likelihood of collisions.
Inability to Stay Within Lanes: Drunk drivers often have difficulty maintaining a steady course within their lanes, resulting in swerving, drifting, or crossing into oncoming traffic.
All of these scenarios can lead to drunk driving accidents, and all of them can be prevented with responsible drinking and responsible ride planning.
What Is the Legal Limit for Driving While Intoxicated?
In Oregon, you cannot drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This is the legal limit for driving while intoxicated. Drivers who are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, can be arrested and will face penalties.
However, it is important to note that drivers can be arrested and charged with drunk driving even if their BAC is below 0.08%. Individuals who are driving erratically can be pulled over and tested for a BAC. If the test results show that they are under the legal limit but still intoxicated, they can be arrested and charged with drunk driving.
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Who Is Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?
In Oregon, liability for a drunk driving accident typically falls on the impaired driver who caused the collision. However, additional parties may also be held liable under certain circumstances. Here are the key points regarding liability in drunk driving accidents in Oregon:
- Primary Liability: The drunk driver is generally considered the primary party at fault for causing the accident.
- Criminal Consequences: In addition to civil liability, the impaired driver may face criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Dram Shop Liability:
- Liability for Alcohol Providers: In Oregon, establishments or individuals who serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals may be held liable if the intoxicated person later causes an accident. This is known as dram shop liability.
- Social Host Liability: Similarly, social hosts who provide alcohol to guests and allow them to drive while intoxicated may be held liable for resulting accidents.
- Vehicle Owner Liability: If the drunk driver was operating someone else's vehicle, the owner of the vehicle might be held liable under the doctrine of negligent entrustment if they knew or should have known that the driver was intoxicated.
- Employer Responsibility: If the impaired driver was on the job at the time of the accident, their employer might be held vicariously liable for the actions of the employee under certain circumstances.
- Road Design or Maintenance: In rare cases, if a drunk driving accident is caused or exacerbated by poor road design or maintenance issues, the government agency responsible for the road may face liability.
In a typical personal injury case, you will need to prove that the other party was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries. To prove that the driver was negligent, you will need to prove that they had a duty to act reasonably, that they breached that duty, and that their breach caused your injuries. You will also need to prove that the driver's negligence was the primary cause of your injuries.
It's important to note that liability can be complex, and each case is unique. Establishing liability often involves a thorough investigation, gathering evidence, and legal expertise. Victims of drunk driving accidents in Oregon may seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
At Elmer & Brunot, PC, our Salem drunk driving accident lawyers can help you prove that the driver was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries.
How Much Compensation Can I Get If I Suffer Injuries in a Drunk Driving Accident?
If you are injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
In many cases, the insurance company for the negligent driver will try to prove that you were partially at fault for the accident. If you were partially at fault, you can still be eligible for compensation. However, your compensation will be reduced by your share of fault. If you were found to be at fault for the accident, you will not be eligible for compensation.