How Long do I Have to File a Dram Shop Notice in Oregon?

Dram shop laws are in place so that third parties, aside from an intoxicated individual, can be held responsible if an intoxicated individual causes injuries. In Oregon, these laws are very specific about who can be held liable, and the list includes bartenders, servers, individuals who sell alcohol, and even social hosts at private residences or parties. Here, we want to discuss how long you have to file a dram shop claim in Oregon after an incident occurs.

Time Limit for Filing a Dram Shop Claim in Oregon

There are time limits in place that individuals need to be aware of if they need to file a dram shop claim in Oregon, and this time frame differs from the personal injury statute of limitations. Typically, an individual in this state has two years from the date an injury occurs to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, individuals have to file a “Dram Shop Notice” within 180 days after an incident, according to ORS 471.565.

This statute of limitations is very strict, and it is crucial to ensure that you file your claim on time. That is why we strongly recommend that you work with a skilled personal injury lawyer who has experience handling specifically injury claims revolving around alcohol impairment and dram shop notices.

What are Dram Shop Claims?

Dram shops are alcohol vendors (the term is hundreds of years old, which is why it may seem out of place). In Oregon, dram shop laws state that an injured individual can hold an alcohol vendor responsible for an accident caused by the impairment of another if the injured individual can prove:

  1. The vendor provided alcohol to a person who was already visibly intoxicated, and
  2. The injured individual did not substantially contribute to the intoxicated individual’s state of intoxication

There are various parties that can be held responsible in these cases. Additionally, any alcohol vendor can be held responsible under dram shop laws for providing alcohol to an underage person, regardless of whether or not the underage individual was visibly intoxicated.

In addition to dram shop laws, Oregon also has laws surrounding social hosts. These are individuals who may be homeowners or those hosting a party where they serve alcohol. Again, social hosts that provide alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals or those under the age of 21 could be held responsible for any injuries caused by the intoxicated persons.

Oregon’s dram shop laws may seem straightforward, but they are notoriously difficult to prove. Actually showing clear and convincing evidence that an alcohol vendor or social host provided beverages to a “visibly intoxicated” person is tough because this can get subjective. Essentially, it will be necessary to prove that the vendor or social host knew that the person was drunk, but not everybody displays intoxication in the same way.

Proving these claims requires help from a skilled Portland personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience handling these matters and can gather the evidence needed to prove what happened.