A three-vehicle Polk County, Oregon car accident over the weekend left one man dead and five people hospitalized, according to a report in The Oregonian.
The Oregon auto accident took place in the town of Dallas, about 60 miles southwest of Portland. The newspaper, quoting the Oregon State Police, reports that the sequence of events began Saturday evening when a van driven by a man from Woodburn “was heading west when it traveled across the center line and collided” with a vehicle headed in the opposite direction on State Route 22.
The driver of the eastbound vehicle was a 69-year-old Silverton man. He was pronounced dead by paramedics responding to the accident. Two other people in the car were taken to a Salem hospital with what The Oregonian describes as “critical” injuries. The driver of the van was not seriously injured in the initial crash, but was struck by a third vehicle, a westbound pickup truck, when he stopped to assess the initial accident. He was taken to the same Salem hospital as the victims in the car and is reported to be suffering from “serious injuries.” The two people in the third vehicle were treated in McMinnville for minor injuries.
The Oregonian reports that “alcohol is being investigated as a possible contributing factor” in the case of the van driver. If alcohol is involved then we also need to consider the possibility of liability issues involving the business or person who sold or served alcohol to the drunk driver. Oregon law makes bar and tavern owners and employees and even social hosts liable if they serve someone who is visibly impaired. In legal terms a “social host” is a private person, usually a friend or family member serving the alcohol in their house. This type of incident should be covered by the social host’s homeowners insurance. Obviously taverns or bars are also required to carry liability insurance for Dram Shop cases, as these issues are formally called. These cases have very specific notice requirements that, if ignored, could prevent the victims’
family from receiving their full measure of justice.
Even if alcohol proves not to have been involved in this crash questions of negligence and Oregon wrongful death need to be considered. An experienced and compassionate Portland car crash lawyer can offer essential advice about the legal issues surrounding not only drunk driving but Oregon reckless or negligent driving as well. Figuring out the precise circumstances, and relative responsibilities, of the drivers involved, is complex under any circumstances. It is especially difficult when there are three vehicles involved in a particular accident. At times like these, skilled legal help is invaluable.