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Lance D. Youd

Lake Oswego Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

CASE REVIEW

Most of us enjoy having a drink or going to a bar with friends. And even though the dangers of getting behind the wheel or a motor vehicle while intoxicated is well known, some people still choose to drink and drive. In many cases, this leads to a serious–and often–deadly accident that can injure not only the drunk driver but other innocent people as well.

Lake Oswego drunk driving accident attorney Lance D. Youd has been handling personal injury claims in Oregon for three decades. He knows how to deal with insurance companies following an accident caused by a driver who was clearly too intoxicated to be on the road. And he can put that knowledge and experience to work, if you, or someone that you love, has suffered as the result of a drunk driving accident in Clackamas County.

The Facts When It Comes to Drunk Driving Accidents in Oregon

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According to a 2020 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1,176 people killed in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver in Oregon during the ten-year period between 2009 and 2018. That means well over 100 deaths per year just from drunk driving. The CDC also noted that Oregon had a higher average death rate than the country as a whole across both sexes and all age groups.

Keep in mind, it is quite possible for an alcohol-impaired driver to cause an accident even if they are not over the legal limit. Like most states, it is illegal in Oregon for adults to operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. But an officer may arrest and charge any driver with a DUI if there is other evidence the driver is under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, inhalants, cannabis, or any combination of these items.

What Should You Do If You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver?

It is always advisable to call 911 if you have been involved in an auto accident. Even if you do not suspect that the other driver was intoxicated or under the influence, it is still worth calling local law enforcement to the scene to prepare an official accident report. And this is even more critical if you do suspect drunk driving.

You should also make written notes about the accident for yourself for later reference. For example, if you observed the other driver was swerving in-and-out of traffic, ignoring stop signs, or committing any other apparent traffic violation, that can help prove possible intoxication. (And even if it does not, breaking the traffic laws is still negligent driving.)

It is also crucial to seek prompt medical attention following a crash, even if you think you are fine and can walk away from the accident scene on your own. Car accidents often produce injuries that do not manifest immediate symptoms. For instance, whiplash and traumatic brain injuries often require post-accident diagnostic testing to confirm. So you should never assume that just because you “walked away without a scratch” that you did not sustain a serious or potentially life-threatening injury.

After seeking medical treatment, you should also contact a qualified Lake Oswego drunk driving accident attorney. Just because you call a lawyer does not mean you are looking to file a lawsuit. It simply means that you wish to seek out competent legal advice regarding your options for seeking compensation. Even a “minor” accident can leave you with substantial medical bills and other out-of-pocket costs. So it is important to learn more about your rights and responsibilities in this area.

Seeking Compensation for a Drunk Driving Accident in Oregon

Oregon is a fault-based state when it comes to car accidents. In simple terms, this means that the at-fault driver–and their insurance company–is liable for any injuries sustained by the victims of the accident. Of course, that does not mean the insurance company will pay up without putting up a fight. Remember, insurance companies are usually for-profit companies looking out for their own bottom line. So even in cases where their policyholder was driving drunk, the insurer may still contest liability as well as the amount of damages claimed by the accident victims.

The damages available in an Oregon drunk driving accident lawsuit may include:

  • the victim’s past and future medical bills;
  • the victim’s past and future loss wages and diminished earning capacity;
  • the victim’s other out-of-pocket expenses, such as repairing or replacing their vehicle;
  • non-economic damages to compensate the victim for their physical suffering, emotional trauma, and having to live with a permanent disability or disfigurement; and
  • punitive damages to punish the drunk driver for acting with “outrageous indifference” towards the wellbeing and safety of the victims.

It should also be noted that under Oregon’s Dram Shop Law, a business that sells alcohol to drivers who were already visibly intoxicated–or under the age of 21–can be sued for damages if that driver causes a drunk driving accident. There are special rules for filing a Dram Shop lawsuit, however, so it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Lake Oswego drunk driving accident attorney as soon as possible following a crash.

Proving a Drunk Driver’s Civil Responsibility in Court

A question our office often receives is, “Can I sue a drunk driver for causing my accident even if they were never tried or convicted of DUI?” The answer is yes. In Oregon, criminal and civil law are completely separate matters. In a criminal case, a prosecutor must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But the burden of proof is much lower in civil lawsuits like personal injury claims. And if a drunk driver has been previously convicted of a criminal DUI offense, that alone can establish the defendant’s “per se negligence” in a subsequent personal injury claim.

That said, it is still the victim’s responsibility to stand up and assert their rights in civil court. So if you need to speak with a qualified Lake Oswego drunk driving accident attorney, contact Lance D. Youd Personal Injury Law today at (503) 399-8967 to schedule a free consultation.

Lance D. Youd with man

Our clients say it best

At Youd Law, we pride ourselves in offering unmatched service. Lance and his staff are responsive and respectful, providing efficient, expert assistance in a kind and courteous manner.

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We cannot thank you enough for your generous intervention for our dear friends. It shows how God used you to answer prayer!

K H Family Family Law 2019

I wouldn’t want to go up against you Lance. Thanks to you and your team for your hard work.

KW July 2019

It’s been a long battle and I want you to know I appreciate all you have done.

RD July 2019

God answers…..One of our dear friends reached out to a lawyer she knows for me. What a great man! He contacted me and spent over a half an hour on the phone answering my questions.

D & D FAMILY LAW 2019

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Lance D. Youd, Attorney at Law proudly serves clients in Salem, Portland,and all surrounding areas in the greater Willamette Valley, OR.

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1596 Liberty St SE Salem, OR 97302
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17036 Canal Circle Lake Oswego, OR 97035
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503.399.0545

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